Pubdate: Mon,  3 Feb 2003
Source: Honolulu Advertiser (HI)
Copyright: 2003 The Honolulu Advertiser, a division of Gannett Co. Inc.
Author: Michael A. Maggiacomo
Bookmark: (Treatment)


As an inmate who has violated parole and is now serving time for my
violations, I must respond to the Jan. 21 letter by Mary Juanita Tiwanak,
acting chair of the Hawai'i Paroling Authority. While I cannot argue in any
way the importance of getting true violators off the streets, I do need to
dispute her view of the millions spent on treatment.

Because of the violations in my case, I did need to be sent back to prison.
But when I returned to prison, what I really hoped for was the opportunity
to get treatment. In the past two years that I have been back, I have not
been given a valid opportunity to get the treatment I need. Though drugs did
not cause me to break the law, nor do they relieve me of my responsibility
for my crimes, they are the root of my problems.

When Tiwanak points to the perceived treatment available in the system, she
reinforces my belief that the Hawai'i Paroling Authority is truly ignorant
and ill-informed about how thing really are here. Of the four
medium-security housing modules at the Halawa Correctional Facility, only
one quad in one module is available for treatment. That is only 32 beds out
of the some 1,000 or more beds here. Add to that the high-security facility,
the special holding unit and the small medical unit, and one quad is a sad

Do I blame Tiwanak for her lack of true understanding? No. She will probably
point to other facilities within the system and say, "Go there to find
help." She may even believe this is true. But, despite of the millions spent
so far, the truth is that treatment options are few and far between.

After more than 16 years revolving through this system -- a reality I am
willing to admit is based on the things I have done -- I'm really looking
for change. All I need is for those in authority to admit things are not
what they seem, accept that and do something about it.

I've got some ideas, based on my inside view, but no one in charge seems to
want to listen. There are positive options out there, but I just can't seem
to get them.

Michael A. Maggiacomo

Halawa Correctional Facility
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