Hawaii To Test Pretrial Release Under HOPE Model of Probation Sanctions


A two-year pilot program for pretrial supervision in Hawaii modeled on the state’s HOPE program of swift, immediate sanctions for probation violators will be started with a grant of nearly $800,000 from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. HOPE stands for Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement. The grant will fund positions at the Department of Public Safety’s Intake Service Center to supervise and drug test pretrial defendants, a deputy sheriff to serve arrest warrants, and a part-time deputy prosecutor and public defender to handle violation hearings in court.

The funds also will provide for drug testing, confirmation tests, and outpatient and residential treatment. HOPE Pretrial will use the same strategies as HOPE Probation, which the foundation describes as “the high-intensity supervision program that has successfully helped reduce probation violations, re-offense rates, drug use, and the costs of incarceration.” Other places across the U.S. have replicated HOPE Probation to supervise sentenced offenders; the Hawaii pilot marks the first time it is being used with persons on pretrial release. Fifty defendants will be enrolled in the first year of the pilot, and the number may expand to 75 in the next year. HOPE Probation was started in Hawaii in 2004 by Judge Steven Alm, chief federal prosecutor in Hawaii from 1994 until becoming a judge in 2001. Alm will preside over non-compliance hearings involving pretrial defendants.

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