How do you plea? ASTWR Podcast No.31

A basic definition for Restorative Justice is as follows: a system of criminal justice that focuses on the rehabilitation of offenders through reconciliation with victims and the community at large.

This definition, however, as logical and straightforward as it is doesn't speak to the kind of justice that is employed as standard practice across the globe, and this includes the United States. Experiencing the US justice system, especially for indigenous peoples and (those we too easily label) minorities, is one that is not only inequitable but can have far-reaching, intergenerational effects that delay and even halt forward movement towards holistic, intergenerational, community-wide health and wellness.

To discuss how this topic is playing out in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific, And Still the Waters Rise, episode 31, features Hawaiʻi litigator, Sonny Ganaden. His essay Law of the Canoe: Reckoning Colonialism and Criminal Justice in the Pacific is slated to be published in 2019 along with other authors in a volume entitled DeTours: A Decolonial Guidebook to Hawaiʻi by Duke University Press (2019).

As the show is intended to be a starting point, the conversation is by no means a comprehensive review of this globally relevant topic. However, it is a doorway through which you can find interesting threads to follow on your own as well as a means to better understand how one version of inequitable (or colonial) justice is playing out in the Pacific today. With that said, the hot topic issue that needs immediate action is the industrialized incarceration that is coming to Hawaiʻi in the form of a private prison. This prison, set to replace the current OCCC is far more than a newly designed structure. After listening to the show, ASTWR hopes you will choose to act now!


Guest Bio: Sonny Ganaden, is a lawyer, writer, artist and teacher. In 2012, he was the lead writer of the Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force Report, delivered to the legislature in 2013. In 2017, he was named "Best Single Writer" by the Hawaii chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He is an instructor in the ethnic studies department at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He is a surfer and paddler. 


Additional Resources




 Flux Magazine

Hana Hou! Magazine


Design Talk Hawaiʻi - interview

Naiʻa Lewis