American and English heritage found those members of society who either cannot care for themselves or who do not fit societal expectations have been the subject of ‘parens patriae’ (parent of the nation,) whereby the state acts as the parent of any child or individual who is in need of protection (i.e., destitute widows, orphans, abused and neglected children and law violators of minority age.)
In 1850, the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi passed its first legislation towards the care and training of Hawaiʻi’s delinquent youth.
Then, the legislature, on December 30, 1864, approved “An act authorizing the board of education to establish an industrial and reformatory school for the care and education of helpless and neglected children, as also for the reformation of juvenile offenders”.
“The only object of the said industrial and reformatory schools shall be the detention, management, education, employment, reformation, and maintenance of such children as shall be committed thereto as orphans, vagrants, truants, living an idle or dissolute life, who shall be duly convicted of any crime or misdemeanor”. (Hawaiian Commission, Annexation Report, 1898)
In 1864, Kamehameha V created, and placed administratively under the Kingdom’s Board of Education, the Keoneʻula Reformatory School, an industrial and reformatory school for boys and girls in Kapālama. The first juvenile facility of its kind in the Islands. (The site is now home to the Princess Victoria Kaʻiulani Elementary School on King Street.)
The Board had authority to establish other industrial schools across the Islands. (Jurisdiction shifted from the Board of Education to the Board of Industrial Schools in 1915, then to the Territorial Department of Institutions in 1939.)
The Industrial School model was in response to the belief that segregation in an institutional setting was the most effective way to address the needs of neglected and delinquent youth. Major characteristics of this congregate-care facility included strict regimentation, harsh punishment, unequal treatment for boys and girls, a poor education system and an emphasis on work.
Initially, the board leased nine-acres in Kapālama, initially for 15-boys and 2-girls, and had them grow taro, vegetables and bananas. In 1903, with the growing population, 75-boys were relocated from Keoneʻula to farmland in Waialeʻe on the North Shore, where wards could learn “habits of industry.”
Farming activities were intended as much to make this facility self-supporting as to provide therapy and training for the wards. Reports about the Waialeʻe institution refer to conditions as always overcrowded.
Meanwhile, female wards moved from Kapālama to Mōʻiliʻili, then in the 1920s to the Maunawili Training School on the mauka side of Kalanianaʻole Highway in Kailua, Koʻolaupoko.
The girls’ Maunawili complex included five major buildings sited on approximately 430-acres on the slopes of Olomana. All the buildings (primarily designed by CW Dickey) were constructed between 1927 and the opening of the school in February 1929, with the exception of the gymnasium which was built in 1938.
According to an early Honolulu Star-Bulletin report, “the buildings are scattered about over the hillside, each different from the other in architectural detail. The effect is pleasing; there is no air of the reform school about the place.” (NPS)
In 1931, the boys’ facility underwent a name change from Waialeʻe Industrial School to the Waialeʻe Training School for Boys; that year, the girls’ Maunawili complex became known as the Kawailoa Training School.
These were Territorial institutions, in rural Oʻahu, formerly under the Department of Public Instruction but from 1915 were under a Board of Industrial Schools. (Report of Governor’s Advisory Committee on Crime, 1931)
Delinquent or dependent children under 18 years of age may be committed to these schools by the juvenile courts in proceedings not to be deemed criminal in nature; no child under 14 may be confined in any jail or police station either before, during or after trial, and no child under 18 may be confined with any adult who shall be under arrest, confinement or conviction for any offense. (Report of Governor’s Advisory Committee on Crime, 1931)
Then, in succeeding decades, various types of facilities and locales were used to house, train and educate the youths.
In 1950, three “cottages” for boys (named, Olomana, Kaʻala and Maunawili) were built on the makai side of Kalanianaʻole Highway from the girls’ Kawailoa Training School in Kailua. Then, all operations at the Waialeʻe Training School for Boys (111-boys and 45-staff members – the entire population from Waialeʻe) transferred to the new facility and the name changed to the Koʻolau Boys Home.
In 1961, all operations came under a combined administrative unit (including housing both male and female youths) with a new name, the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility (HYCF,) a branch of the Corrections Division of the reorganized Department of Social Services and Housing.
HYCF is the state’s sole juvenile facility. It’s comprised of two separate facilities with three housing units: two boys’ housing units and a girls’ housing unit (with certain exceptions, HYCF houses boys confined for long terms at the main secure custody facility (“SCF.”)
The SCF is comprised of a central courtyard surrounded by three housing modules, with ten cells and a common area in each module, a school, a gymnasium, kitchen facilities, offices for administrative and medical staff, and two isolation cells.
The Olomana School, Olomana Hale Hoʻomalu and Olomana Youth Center were established since 1985 and provide support services to alienated students throughout the State of Hawaiʻi.
Olomana School (operated by the DOE) offers three main educational programs: incarcerated youth are served at HYCF; the Olomana Hale Hoʻomalu program is to provide educational and support services to students who are temporarily confined to the juvenile detention facility; and The Olomana Youth Center serves at-risk students from Windward Oahu’s secondary schools and also HYCF students who are in transit.
Due to the pending litigation in 1991 against the State regarding conditions of confinement for women, the temporary Women’s Community Correctional Center (in what was the Koʻolau Boys Home on the makai side of the highway) was remodeled and completed in 1994 as the State’s primary women’s all-custody facility.
Women’s Community Correctional Center (WCCC) is the only women’s prison in Hawaii. It also serves the needs of pre-trial and sentenced female offenders. The facility houses female offenders who are of maximum, medium and minimum custody levels.
The facility is comprised of four (4) structures; Olomana, Kaala, Maunawili and Ahiki Cottages. Every cottage operates in accordance with specific programs and classification levels. WCCC also offers a 50-bed gender responsive, substance abuse therapeutic community called Ke Alaula. (Lots of information here from reports from the Auditor, Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Office of Youth Services and NPS.)