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Probationers who fail a drug test are arrested immediately.Within a few hours or days, they may be in court, where the judge will modify the terms of their probation to include a stay in jail.
When Judge Steven Alm wanted to change the behavior of drug-using probationers, he instituted a program that used strict "swift and certain" principles.
A rigorous NIJ-funded evaluation in 2009 proved him right.
Hawken is associate professor of economics and policy analysis at Pepperdine University's School of Public Policy.
NIJ: How did the original HOPE program work, and what were the results?
Unlike drug-treatment-diversion programs and drug courts, HOPE reserves treatment for probationers who request it (only a small percentage request a treatment referral) and for those who consistently fail or miss drug tests.
In our 2009 NIJ-funded study, we found that when faced with the credible threat of a swift sanction, more than 80 percent of probationers stopped using drugs — including even those who had long histories of drug use.Will the program work just as well on the mainland?AH: Whether HOPE works on the mainland is an empirical question.Probationers in Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program were significantly less likely to fail drug tests or miss probation appointments.They also were sentenced to less time in prison because of probation revocations than were probationers who did not participate in the program.Angela Hawken (AH): Hawaii's HOPE program begins with a "warning hearing," referred to in some jurisdictions as an "orientation hearing." During warning hearings, the judge clearly lays out the program's rules and structure, and probationers are put on notice that they will be punished for violations.