The ACLU of Hawaii is proud to announce the addition to its team of Monica Espitia, Smart Justice Campaign Director. Monica will be leading the ACLU of Hawaii’s local, on-the-ground Smart Justice work. Hawaii is participating in the ACLU’s nationwide Smart Justice campaign, an initiative focused on reducing mass incarceration by fifty percent while addressing racial bias throughout the criminal justice system.
Ms. Espitia has worked within the ACLU for over 13 years, most recently with the ACLU of Florida where she was a key organizer for the Amendment 4 Campaign, which successfully restored the vote to millions of Floridians previously disenfranchised for life due to felony convictions.
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On joining the ACLU of Hawaii team, Ms. Espitia said: “We are living in a time when peoples’ physical freedoms are being denied at alarming rates and ‘justice’ is being served in not so thoughtful ways. My motivation for working on Smart Justice ultimately is hope. Hope that we are ready to be bold and inspiring in the way we balance keeping our communities safe without sacrificing our commitment to justice for all.”
ACLU of Hawaii Executive Director Joshua Wisch said, “Thanks to the tireless work of local advocates and stakeholders, a strong foundation has already been laid in Hawaii for rethinking who we lock up, why, for how long, what our goals are in doing so, and whether our current policies are actually moving us closer to those goals. Under Monica’s experienced leadership, the ACLU of Hawaii looks forward to working closely with affected community members, listening to and learning from them, and advocating for policies that are smart on crime, not just tough on crime.”
Last year the ACLU of Hawaii released its preliminary report on the need for local bail reform, “As Much Justice As You Can Afford – Hawaii’s Accused Face and Unequal Bail System.” A final report will be released soon.