Skip to main content

Reply to "More Blacks Going to Prison in 17 Key Election States"

Mr. ricardo,

I found your chart above very interesting - especially the figures for the state of Hawaii. In fact, it prompted me to look up the current number of black inmates among the Hawaii prison population. That number astonished me, and I'll tell you why...

Twenty years ago, while attending the U. of Hawaii at Manoa, I worked part-time and summers at a small video and electronics firm in Honolulu to help defray my school costs. The company had a service contract to maintain the internal closed-circuit TV systems at two of Hawaii's biggest prisons, the Halawa State Facility and the OCCC in Kalihi. As the lowest tech on the service shop senority totem pole, I was given the thankless task of answering repair requests from the prisons. Over a period of three years, I must have been called to the prison at least 25-30 times (their equipment was pretty crappy stuff; always breaking down or being vandalized by the prisoners). Since many of the cameras were in the cellblocks themselves, I'd have to go there often to do the on-site repair.

Anyway, it was always a bit of a treacherous undertaking. My personal version of "scared straight," if you follow me. Those were some pretty mean-azzed hombres! Native Hawaiians, Samoans and Filipinos mostly, but also a good sprinkling of Asians and haole boys (whites) too. I distinctly remember, however, seeing only a few black inmates in all the times I went on the service calls. Indeed, I once mentioned that fact to one of the guards who would "chaperone" me, himself a black guy recently out of the military. He told me there couldn't be more than 20 or 30 black inmates in the entire Hawaii prison system in those days. That's why I was left speechless to read today that the black inmate population in Hawaii now exceeds 230 unhappy souls!

Without much else to go on, I can venture only one educated guess for the dramatic increase: drug-dealing. I know Hawaii has had a massive problem over the past two decades dealing with the sale and use of meth, cocaine and heroin. Apparently, like many other "malihini" from the mainland, black folks have been migrating to the islands for more than just the sun and surf, and ending up behind bars because of it. Sad, sad, sad...
×
×
×
×