Posted on April 8, 2022 in Latest news from the department, Press room

HONOLULU — A graduation ceremony was held for 31 women at the Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC). The women completed various educational programs including GED, GED Tutor Training, Pu’uhonua, and Kapiolani Community College (KCC) Culinary Arts. Governor David Ige, First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige, Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and District 32 House Representative Linda Ichiyama were all in attendance, along with Hawaii Friends for Restorative Justice Director Lorenn Walker , education program volunteers, employees and graduates.

Hawaii Friends for Restorative Justice was able to expand and continue important educational programs at WCCC with the help of the Governor’s Emergency Education Assistance (GEER) grant awarded to them in August 2021. GEER provides grants directly to educational entities in Hawaii. to fund innovative initiatives and offset the impact COVID-19 has had on students, families, and educators in Hawai’i.

“These women have taken an important step towards realizing their true potential. I am proud of their progress and the role the GEER program has played in supporting these women, providing them with opportunities for education, employment and well-being,” Governor David Ige said.

The Hawai’i Friends for Restorative Justice uses their grant to train incarcerated women to become GED tutors for their peers, offer university correspondence courses for WCCC women, and provide reintegration and transition services to women who want to continue their studies after their incarceration.

“Education is the key to success, and we are very proud of these women for taking this step. Lorenn Walker and the Hawai’i Friends of Restorative Justice have created an innovative structure that can be a model for education in other correctional facilities and make a difference in even more lives,” said Dawn Amano-Ige.

15 women received their GED diploma for completing the GED program and five women completed the GED Tutor training program. The GED Tutoring Program is a two-week training for women to become tutors for female students preparing for their GED.

“We are truly delighted with the success of this program, and appreciate the support of the Department of Public Safety in its delivery. It has been beyond our expectations,” said Lorenn Walker, director of Hawai’i Friends for Restorative Justice.

“The tutoring program helps students get the necessary support and encouragement from their tutors and mentors,” said Amy Jodar, PSD Correctional Education Program Manager. “Tutors can work with students in accommodations, which has expedited the GED degree process.”

Eight (8) women graduated from the Pu’uhonua program. Pu’uhonua is a college program at Windward Community College. It is funded by the Pu’uhonua Grant, a federal grant for at-risk women. Women who complete the program obtain the Academic Subject Certificate in Psychosocial Development Studies.

Eight (8) women also received Culinary Arts certificates from Kapiolani Community College (KCC) today. The women hosted a special graduation luncheon, showcasing some of the 5-star quality cuisine they learned to create.

The KCC Culinary Arts Program at WCCC is a comprehensive program that aims to educate participants in professionalism, commitment and responsibility. The women worked their way up to the mid-level class from three compulsory beginner classes, including fundamental cooking, safety and hygiene, and introduction to the culinary arts. They also earn 14 credits that will appear on their University of Hawaii transcripts.

Students not only learned the basics of culinary arts, but also the skills that come with a rigorous college course, such as: time management, study habits, homework completion, teamwork, and presentation. .

“You have a fresh start. You have made the choice to make a change in your life, to take this step on the path of hope to go further in your education. It’s a big achievement today,” Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald said. “The only limits for you, as far as I’m concerned, are the limits you impose on yourself. Stay true to your heart, work hard, and be willing to try. That’s what you showed us today.

“We couldn’t be more proud of all of our graduates. These women worked hard to complete their courses. They are learning real job skills and now have what it takes to further their education when they leave and work for a better life, not just for themselves, but for their families,” said Tommy Johnson, Deputy Director of PSD for Corrections.

Photos and videos of the graduation ceremony are available on PSD’s Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/HawaiiPSD.

Video, sound clips and images can also be downloaded via Dropbox: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/bux9lkjf4do3jup/AACKoui4wFpFfSOtexxyouxSa?dl=0

(Soundbites include: Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Friends of Restorative Justice Director Lorenn Walker and Chief Lee Shinsato of Kapiolani Community College)

Tony Schwartz
Public Information Officer
Hawaii Department of Public Safety
Office: 808-587-1358
Cell: 808-683-5507
[email protected]
Facebook: www.Facebook.com/HawaiiPSD
Twitter: www.twitter.com/HawaiiPSD

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