Former inmates share stories of hope and healing

Image by Patrick Hascall

Image by Patrick Hascall

Two former inmates of the Women’s Community Correctional Center in Kailua shared their personal journeys of hardship, perseverance and healing through a presentation entitled “Prison Monologues” at WCC on Oct. 14.

Many WCC students, faculty and staff attended the deeply personal exposition. “Our mission is to educate our students so that they may be able to manage the complexities of life, which can often be very difficult, unpredictable and unbearably complicated,” said Winston Kong, WCC counselor who helped bring the event to campus. “I’m just trying to keep the college life real and truthful.”

Physical and sexual violence, drugs and dysfunctional family life contributed to the women’s hard and rocky roads.

However, they were able to turn their pain into stories of hope and healing.

Both women accredit much of their healing to former warden Mark Kawika Patterson and various programs offered at the prison. Patterson taught the women to view the prison as a pu’uhonua, a Hawaiian place of refuge and healing.

As the women spoke about their life journeys, one could sense the pain and difficulties they have faced. “I didn’t realize the domino effect our parents have on us,” said WCC student Taylor Kipapa.

According to the state Department of Health and Human Services, children of incarcerated parents are seven times more likely to be incarcerated one day, a generational pattern that “Prison Monologues” speaker Kimmy Takata says “we need to stop.”

“I’ve come to embrace the new me,” said speaker Joanne Liupaono. “I’m free.”

 

by Ka‘ainoa Fernandez, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter