Group appeals Kulani court ruling

A group that opposed last year’s reopening of Kulani Correctional Facility is appealing a court decision that allowed the prison near Hilo to reopen.

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A group that opposed last year’s reopening of Kulani Correctional Facility is appealing a court decision that allowed the prison near Hilo to reopen.

The 80-page appeal was filed by California attorney James Dombroski on behalf of Ohana Ho‘opakele. A lawsuit filed by the group to stop the state from reopening the minimum-security facility on the slopes of Mauna Loa was dismissed in November by Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara.

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The group wanted a puuhonua, or wellness center, on the site, and claimed the state had violated Act 117, which directed the state Department of Public Safety “in cooperation with Ohana Ho‘opakele and other restorative justice groups to prepare a plan for the creation of a pu‘uhonua, or wellness center … provided that the site formerly used as the Kulani correctional facility on the island of Hawaii shall be given preference….”

Palikapu Dedman, Ohana Ho‘opakele’s president, said in a statement the groups appeal of the ruling “will have an impact not only on whether the first modern Pu‘uhonua will be built at Kulani but also on the future standards of Environmental Assessments (EAs) related to native Hawaiian issues.”

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