Built in the 1950s, Hale Ho’omalu Juvenile Hall was closed in 2010. Six months prior to my visit I met with Wendell Kikuchi, Deputy Chief Court Administrator for Hawaii at a JDAI conference. He candidly discussed the new facility intended to replace the Hale Ho’omalu Juvenile Hall, telling me that he felt they may have gotten it all wrong, He suggested that they were building this new facility, almost completed in fact, and it looked like an adult prison, but it was too late to turn around now.
Kapolei Juvenile Hall, the new juvenile justice complex [first seen in this post], was built at a cost of $160 million dollars. It opened in February 2010. It has a capacity for 66 juveniles.
Hawaii is an expensive place to live with little opportunity work. The place to work for some kids is on the beach, robbing a foreign tourist who will probably not report it. A large criminal society is growing out of necessity. Most the kids in facilities here have one parent in their lives at best, the chances that it was a positive adult figure are small. In the late 1990s the state was forced to start considering what they had, and the type of services they were providing, the federal justice authorities on the mainland didn’t have faith in the Hawaii juvenile detention and correction system to correct the situation without federal intervention, guidance and assistance. One administrator there said Hawaii looked at the Missouri model and didn’t implement it. They claim they would have run out of money. They had some money, they used it in a manner that might not be the most effective way. The architecture and of Kapolei give evidence to their decisions and will remain in use for decades—defining their practice and treatment of juveniles in many aspects.