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Puuhonua Hoala Hou: Awakening in Our Path

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2023, $900,000)

Windward Community College  (WCC) seeks to decrease recidivism through improvement of educational programming at at least three incarcerated facilities on the island of Oʻahu, including expansion of second chance Pell award implementation and enhancement of re-entry educational services throughout the state of Hawaiʻi. This project builds on a strong foundation of seven years of collaboration between WCC and th the Hawaiʻi Department of Public Safety to implement credit bearing education in three incarcerated institutions. It expands current efforts through full implementation of mandated Pell program and development of procedures, policies and trainings on financial aid pre- and post-release, as well as the development of a career assessment and guidance curriculum for incarcerated college counselors and the formation of a statewide network of academic and career counselors at the community colleges serving incarcerated students post-release throughout the state.

         The project serves incarcerated adult men,  adult women and youth in at least three facilities on Oʻahu. A special emphasis is placed on serving Native Hawaiians, who are disproportionately represented in the carceral system. This is done through intentional programming providing the AA Hawaiian Studies at one carceral institution and Hawaiian Studies classes for electives at the other facilities. The college serving as lead institution enrolls the highest percentage of Native Hawaiians in the University of Hawaiʻi system, includes Native Hawaiians in their mission statement and is a designated Native Hawaiian serving institution. It already has more than parity for Native Hawaiians both in overall and incarcerated student populations and has been commended by its accrediting body for preserving, celebrating and embracing NH culture and strong student focus and support for NH students. The chancellor/PI is guided by the Native Hawaiian advisory board for WCC.

Outcomes targeted include enrollment  in credit-bearing college courses (i.e., at least 360 total over the life of the grant),  enrollment of Native Hawaiian students at/above parity with incarcerated system rates (39%), higher education degree and certificate completion (at least 30 by year 3), reduced recidivism rates for program participants (goal 10%), and decreased overall institutional recidivism by 5% per year for three years.

Date Created: September 25, 2023