The first scientific evaluation of a Hawaii experiment in tough probation supervision show promising results. Hawaii's Opportunity for Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) promises swift and certain punishment for violations of probation conditions. A study released this week by the U.S. National Instiute of Justice said that 21 percent of HOPE participants were arrested over a year, compared with 47 percent of similar convicts who were not in HOPE. The study found that 13 percent of HOPE probationers failed drug tests, compared with 56 percent of others.
The study was conducted by Angela Hawken of Pepperdine University and Mark Kleiman of UCLA. They said that probationers assigned to HOPE spent about one-third as many days in custody on revocations or new convictions as did non-participants. “Sanctions were delivered swiftly and with certainty,” Hawken and Kleiman said. HOPE was started in 2004 by Judge Steven Alm. More than 1,500 probationers had taken part as of early this year. Defense attorneys generally praised the program but some prosecutors said they believed it has been overused.