In 2019, the Hawaii State Legislature created the five-member, independent commission to help improve the corrections system, including prison overcrowding. In January of 2020, the Commission held its first public meeting, and the first staff member was hired in July of 2022.
Meet the Commission
Mark Patterson, Chair
Appointed by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs chair Colette Machado, Chair Patterson is the current Administrator of the Hawaii Youth Correctional Facility and former Warden of the Women’s Community Correctional Center. He is known for his work in Trauma Informed Care within a Correctional Environment.
Appointed by Speaker of the House of Representatives Scott Saiki, Commissioner Torney is the former Executive Director of the Office of Youth Services and the former Deputy Director of Administration of the Department of Public Safety. Commissioner Torney’s extensive professional career was focused in the field of juvenile and adult corrections.
Theodore (Ted) Sakai
Appointed by Governor David Ige, Commissioner Sakai has nearly 30 years of experience at the Department of Public Safety, having served as prisons director, deputy director, administrative assistant to the director, and chief of staff. He was also the warden at the Waiawa Correctional Facility. Commissioner Sakai is currently the executive director at Puulu Lapaau, the Hawaii Program for Health Professionals.
Honorable Ronald Ibarra (retired)
Appointed by Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald, Judge Ibarra was appointed as a Circuit Court Judge in 1989. He has been the Third Circuit’s Administrative Judge since 1993 and served as its first Chief Judge before retiring in 2017. In addition to presiding over civil and criminal cases, Judge Ibarra served on number judicial and State Bar committees and started two important courts: Veterans Treatment Court (2015) and Big Island Drug Court (2002). Judge Ibarra continues to serve on various judiciary, county, and state commissions and is involved with the Bar Association.
Honorable Mike Town (retired)
Appointed by Senate President Ronald Kouchi, Judge Michael A. Town was first appointed to the bench in 1979 serving first as District Family Court Judge. He later served as Senior Judge of the Family Court of the First Circuit from October 1994 until retiring in 2010. Judge Town also served on the Parole Board from 2011-2018. Lastly, Judge Town has sat on the Hawaii Judiciary’s Restorative Justice Committee and the Committee on Jury Innovations, among others.
Meet the Staff
Christin M. Johnson, Oversight Coordinator
Christin is Hawaii’s first Oversight Coordinator of the Commission. Appointed by Governor Ige, Christin is thrilled to bring her experience and passion to the state of Hawaii. Born and raised in Michigan, Christin has leveraged her expert understanding of the corrections system and current policies to impact change at the individual and larger systemic levels. Christin has built her career in corrections and law enforcement reform through her oversight work in state prisons (State of Michigan), city jails (City of New York, NY), and with local police (Grand Rapids, MI).
George Choe, Special Assistant to the Oversight Coordinator
George has immense clerical and leadership experience from his previous roles working in the Attorney General’s office as the Assistant to the Special Assistant to the Attorney General and as a District Manager for many years at Hertz. George has a newfound passion for law and will be furthering his education in the legal system while working with the Commission.
Cara Compani, Reentry and Diversion Oversight Specialist
Cara brings over a decade of experience in correctional oversight and reform on the local, national, and system-wide levels. Cara led the work of the D.C. Corrections Information Council in their inspection and monitoring of local and federal correctional facilities. Cara was also part of the Reimagining Prison Project work at the Vera Institute of Justice, which put forward a new, reimagined vision for the future of corrections. Cara has now turned her attention to the Aloha State and is fiercely passionate about furthering the work of the Commission. Cara is a native New Yorker with a J.D. from the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and an LL.M. from The George Washington University Law School.