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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA Chair selects Mark Kawika Patterson to sit on the new Correctional System Oversight Commission

HONOLULU (July 5, 2019)  – OHA Chair Colette Machado today announced the selection of Mark Kawika Patterson, the administrator of the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility, as her appointee to a new commission that will oversee Hawaiʻi’s correctional system.

The establishment of the Hawaiʻi Correctional System Oversight Commission is one of a host of criminal justice reforms contained in HB1552, which Gov. David Ige signed into law yesterday. The legislation, enacted as Act 179, provides that the OHA Chair appoint one member to the new commission.

OHA Chair Machado said:

Kawika Patterson is a visionary who has worked from the bottom to the top of nearly every correctional facility in the state. He spearheaded extensive reforms at the Women’s Community Correctional Center and the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility. He has completely shifted how we as community rehabilitate our female and youth paʻahao and turn them into positive contributors to our society. There is no one more qualified in terms of professional experience, commitment and a sense of personal kuleana to have a seat on the commission. I mahalo Kawika for accepting this huge responsibility.

Mark Kawika Patterson has more than 30 years of experience working in the criminal justice system in Hawaiʻi and Nevada. He previously served as the warden for the Women’s Community Correctional Center and has held various positions at Oʻahu Community Correctional Center and Hālawa Correctional Facility.

OHA Chair Machado also commended the community-driven effort to enact HB1552.

I extend my warmest mahalo to Gov. Ige, the legislators and our community partners whose hard work, dedication and passion made this new law a reality.”

The data is clear that our Native Hawaiian people are overrepresented in a criminal justice system that is outdated and in many ways broken. Act 179 contains a number of sweeping and innovative reforms recommended by two recent legislative task forces on criminal justice reform – the HCR85 Task Force on Prison Reform and the HCR134 Task Force on Pretrial Reform.

The new law also establishes the Hawaiʻi Correctional System Oversight Commission, which will begin the enormous and critical work of transitioning our criminal justice system from a punitive model to a modern, rehabilitative and therapeutic one.

We believe that this commission combined with the law’s other reforms will soon bring comprehensive changes that relieve the rampant overcrowding of our jail and prison facilities; reunite paʻahao with their families and communities; and save taxpayer dollars on costly corrections spending. These changes will ultimately make Hawaiʻi a safer and stronger community.


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