ACLU of Hawai‘i Report Shows Current Bail Practices Prioritize Wealth Of The Accused Over Risk To The Community

Honolulu, Hawai‘i: the ACLU of Hawai‘i (“ACLU”) has released a study showing that almost half of the people in Hawai‘i jails are pre-trial detainees who have not been convicted of the crimes for which they’ve been accused. This preliminary report, called “As Much Justice As You Can Afford – Hawaiiʻs Accused Face an Unequal Bail […]


Times change, political leaders change, but the American Civil Liberties Union mission remains the same: no matter who is in charge, we’re here to protect and advance civil rights as guaranteed by the U.S. and Hawai‘i State Constitutions. We are non-profit, non-partisan, and do not accept government funding. The ACLU of Hawai‘i was established in […]


A May 2018 memo illegally forbids residents from accessing Hawaii’s new Medical Aid in Dying law     Read the demand letter: 2018-11-1 Letter to Kahala Nui Read the memorandum: Kahala Nui Memo Kāhala Nui response, 11/13/18: Kahala Senior Living Community Letter to ACLU 2018-11-13 New memorandum to residents: Kahala Senior Living Community Letter to ACLU […]

Oped: Protect State Constitution by voting ‘No’ on ConCon

This oped originally published on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 in Honolulu Civil Beat: By Joshua A. Wisch, Executive Director A number of people have asked me why the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii is opposed to holding a state constitutional convention. As one of Hawaii’s leading civil rights advocates, some are curious as […]

OpEd: Stronger schools, not “zero tolerance” are the best way to address bullying

This piece originally ran in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 under the title: “DOE’s bullying policy won’t work” By Rae Shih, Legal Fellow Addressing bullying in Hawaii’s public schools is an important issue. Students have a right to feel safe and welcome when they arrive at school each day; bullying is […]

OpEd: Criminalizing someone for being poor is wrong, immoral, and – under our laws and constitution –illegal.

This piece originally ran in the Honolulu Star Advertiser on Sunday, October 15 under the title “Homeless have the same rights as the rest of us”: By Joshua A. Wisch, Executive Director I’ve spent time in Mother Waldron Park and Waimanalo Beach Park talking story with people who are unsheltered. I work downtown and […]


We cannot criminalize our way out of an affordable housing crisis. But that is now the City’s plan. The City Council passed, and Mayor Caldwell has today signed, Bills 51 and 52. These expand on failed policies that cost taxpayers millions of dollars and accomplish nothing to address the root causes of Honolulu’s escalating affordable […]


Hilo woman endures 18-week bureaucratic mess to acquire full driver’s license Read the demand letter: Hawai‘i DMV Letter Companion letters to Honolulu County, Maui County, Kaua‘i County County statement and ACLU of Hawai‘i reply Honolulu, Hawai‘i: The ACLU of Hawai‘i (ACLU) has sent a demand letter to County of Hawai’i government offices that oversee the […]

Civil Rights “Talk Story” Comes to Kaua‘i!

  Talk-Story Kaua‘i Thursday, August 30 2018 5:30-7:30 p.m. St. Michael & All Angels Church (4364 Hardy St., corner of Hardy & Umi) Your RSVP helps us plan refeshments: Able to help us get the word out? Print or email this flyer: 3talk_story_Kauai2018 Please come and please bring a friend! Join Kaua‘i based board […]

Criminalizing poverty, survival & homelessness: City Council Bills 51 and 52

Bill 51 (O‘ahu wide sit/lie ban) and 52 (criminalizing “lodging” on City sidewalks) were both up for first reading at the Honolulu City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 11 2018 at Kapolei Hale.  The ACLU of Hawai‘i submitted opposition testimony on both measures. These passed first reading, and public hearings will follow.  Please follow us […]

ACLU Hawai‘i: Mahalo Governor Ige for allowing Police Standards bill to become law

UPDATE 7/10/18: We did it! The ACLU of Hawai’i thanks Governor Ige for allowing HB 2071, which will create a law enforcement standards board, to become law. By listening to the concerns of the people – and their representatives who passed this bill unanimously – the Governor has done the right thing. His action today […]

ACLU of Hawai‘i thanks elections officials: proclamation lets Hawai‘i Island voters register and vote in person on election day

The State Chief Elections Officer and the Hawai’i County Clerk have responded to a demand letter from the ACLU of Hawai’i. That letter expressed concerns about the constitutionality of the Office of Elections’ original voting plan for precincts 4-03 and 4-04, which did not allow for in-person voting and registration on election day. Both of […]