Two of the most widely lauded programs by criminal justice experts and policymakers for their alleged ability to reduce recidivism have received skeptical assessments.
A forthcoming study to be published in Criminology & Public Policy concludes that neither Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (Hawaii HOPE) program, nor the Swift, Certain and Fair (SCF) model of supervision achieved significant reductions in re-arrests of “moderate to high-risk probationers,” compared to standard probation programs.
In the study, Outcome Findings from the HOPE Demonstration Field Experiment, the authors randomly assigned more than 1,500 probationers to normal probation supervision or to a program modeled on HOPE, called the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement, that emphasizes close monitoring, frequent drug testing, and swift and certain punishment for probation violations. They found no real difference in outcomes.
Based on their experiment, the authors conclude that HOPE/SCF “seems unlikely to offer better outcomes and lower costs for broad classes of moderate-to-high-risk probationers.”
The study authors were: Pamela K. Lattimore, Debbie Dawes, and Stephen Tueller (RTI International); and Doris Layton MacKenzie, Gary Zajac and Elaine Arsenault (Pennsylvania State University),
The full report is available here free until December 11, and for a fee after that. Members of the American Society of Criminology receive the journal with their membership.