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Does Maui really need a prison?

December 29, 2011
The Maui Weekly

The U.S. has 5 percent of the world's population, and boasts 25 percent of its prisoners. The prison industrial complex has become big business--a big, profitable business.

I've read letters suggesting that Maui's new prison be built on Kaho'olawe or Moloka'i. But I think residents of Maui need to ask some serious questions. Is there a corporation involved here which stands to reap the profits? Does Maui really need a prison?

U.S. prisons are mostly filled with poor drug abusers. Poor drug abusers of color dominate the incarcerated populations. Maui is showing the world the way to energy efficiency with the wind farm on West Mountain. Perhaps we should lead our country to a new way of dealing with drug abuse, and treat it like the medical/social problem it is.

Perhaps a clinic instead of a prison would be best. I don't have the facts and figures on who inhabits Hawai'i's prisons, but I'm not seeing a whole lot of murder, rape and robbery on the 5 o'clock news.

Live aloha!

John R. Hall Kihei



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