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HOPE in Hawaii: Swift and Sure Changes in Probation

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2008
2 pages
This article discusses Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program.
In 2004, Judge Steven Alm convinced the police and sheriff, local jail officials, probation officers, drug treatment professionals, prosecutors, and defense counsel to collaborate on a swift and sure punishment program known as HOPE. The judge took a group of high-risk probationers, gave them ”warning hearings” and told them that while the rules of probation were not changing, the old rules would now be strictly enforced. A group of methamphetamine-using probationers with records of poor compliance were put on the HOPE drug-testing and swift-sanctions program and given a formal warning by the judge; overall, the rate of missed and “dirty” drug tests went down by more than 80 percent. For 685 probationers who were in the program for at least 3 months, the missed appointment rate fell from 13.3 percent to 2.6 percent and “dirty” drug tests fell from 49.3 percent to 6.5 percent. The Hawaii legislature acknowledged the early success of the pilot programs and gave the court system more funding to expand the program. The research study’s final report is expected in December of 2008.

Date Published: June 1, 2008