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Managing Drug-Involved Offenders

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2014
60 pages
Swift-and-certain punishment that is relatively mild in severity under intensive supervision, which is similar to that of the HOPE program in Hawaii, is proposed as a model for managing drug-involved offenders.
Swift-and-certain (SAC) sanctions programs, when implemented correctly, have demonstrated significant ability to reduce reoffending, probation/parole revocations, and incarceration across a range of offender types and criminal justice settings. Instant detection of drug use is essential to delivering swift sanctions in response to violations under SAC programs. Hawaii's HOPE program, which began in 2004, was the first successful large-scale implementation of SAC sanctions. HOPE includes regular random drug tests (six times a month during the first few months of the program). Sanctions are delivered within days of a detected violation. Sanctions may include jail terms as brief as 3 days. The program relies on streamlined judicial processes and coordination among all the agencies involved, including courts, probation, law enforcement, and treatment providers. Delays within the court system are minimized, which expedites the reporting of failed drug tests, the scheduling of court hearings, and the issuance of bench warrant for absconders. Cooperation with law enforcement agencies ensures that bench warrants are prioritized. Offenders are made aware at the outset of program admission that violations have a high probability of being detected, and violations will be dependably punished. For participants who consistently fail or miss drug tests, treatment is mandatory. Treatment includes long-term residential treatment. This report notes differences between SAC programs and drug courts. The HOPE program's evaluation found that the rate of missed and failed drug tests dropped over 80 percent, with about 25 percent of the caseload testing positive only one time. 52 references

Date Published: July 1, 2014