Guest speaker

Hawaiʻi’s failed criminal justice system and reforms we can implement

Description of presentation:
Attorney and Deputy Public Defender Jacquie Esser spoke and lead participants in a discussion regarding the following topics:

  • Overview of Hawaiʻi’s failed criminal justice system. Mass incarceration exists here, as on the continent, and is cruel, racist, and ineffective. It wastes money and lives, and doesn’t make our community safe.
  • Examples of how the current system is failing us: the criminalization of poverty and addiction, and discrimination against Native Hawaiians and other persons of color.
  • Reforms we can implement here to create a more just and fair system for everyone, including: Redirecting resources from police and prisons to healthcare, education and public housing; expanding restorative justice and rehabilitation programs.

Jacquie Esser is a mother and career public defender. Jacquie has spent more than a decade fighting to improve the lives of her clients, their families, and our communities. She is a criminal justice reform advocate who is committed to investing in communities, addressing the root causes of crime, building intergenerational stability, giving crime victims a voice in every case, and making our communities safer and more just.