More than thirty years ago, in Hawaii, at the Hawaii State Hospital, there was a special ward, a clinic for the mentally ill criminals. People who had committed extremely serious crimes were assigned there either because they had a very deep mental disorder or because they needed to be checked to see if they were sane enough to stand trial. They had committed murder, rape, kidnapping or other such crimes. According to a nurse that worked there in those years, the place was so bleak that not even the paint could stick to the walls, everything was decaying, terrifying, repulsive. No day would pass without a patient-inmate attacking another inmate or a member of the staff.
The people working there were so frightened that they would walk close to the walls if they saw an inmate coming their way in a corridor, even though they were all shackled, all the time –but more than once this wouldn’t stop an aggression. The inmates would never be brought outside to get fresh air because of their relentlessly threatening attitude. The scarcity of staff was a chronic occurrence. Nurses, wardens, employees would prefer to be on sick-leave most of the time in order not to confront such a depressive and dangerous environment.
Enters Dr. Hew Len
One day, a newly appointed clinical psychologist, a Dr. Stanley Hew Len, arrived at the ward. The nurses rolled their eyes, bracing themselves for one more guy that was going to bug them with new theories and proposals to fix the horrid situation, who would walk away as soon as things became unpleasant, around a month later, usually. However, this new doctor wouldn’t do anything like that. Actually he didn’t seem to be doing anything in particular, except just coming in and being always cheerful and smiling, in a very natural, relaxed way. He wasn’t even particularly early in arriving every morning. From time to time he would ask for the files of the inmates.
He never tried to see them personally, though. Apparently he just sat in an office, looked at their files, and to members of the staff who showed an interest he would tell them about a weird thing called Ho’oponopono. Little by little things started to change in the hospital. One day somebody would try again to paint those walls and they actually stayed painted, making the environment more palatable. The gardens started being taken care of, some tennis courts were repaired and some prisoners that up until then would never be allowed to go outside started playing tennis with the staff. Other prisoners would be allowed not to be shackled any more, or would receive less heavy pharmacological drugs. More and more obtained permission to go outside unshackled, without causing trouble to the hospital’s employees.
In the end, the atmosphere changed so much that the staff was not on sick leave any more. Actually, more people than needed wished now to work there. Prisoners started gradually to be released. Dr. Hew Len worked there close to four years. In the end, there remained only a couple of inmates that were relocated somewhere else and the clinic for the mentally insane criminals had to close.
This story has been shared widely, and this version was shared by http://rosariomontenegro.hubpages.com/hub/How-Dr-Hew-Len-healed-a-ward-of-mentally-ill-criminals-with-Hooponopono