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Program Profile: Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE)

Evidence Rating: No Effects - One study No Effects - One study

Date: This profile was posted on April 27, 2020

Program Summary

This is a community supervision strategy that includes close monitoring; random drug testing; and swift, certain, and fair responses to any violations of probation. The program is rated No Effects. There were no statistically significant differences between HOPE and probation as usual (PAU) probationers in the number of arrests, revocations, and time to first arrest. However, HOPE probationers had a statistically significant greater number of new convictions, compared with PAU probationers.

This program’s rating is based on evidence that includes at least one high-quality randomized controlled trial.

Program Description

Program Goals/Target Population
Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) is a community supervision strategy that includes close monitoring; random drug testing; and swift, certain, and fair (SCF) responses to any noncompliance of the conditions of probation, such as positive drug tests, which are meant to deter probationers from violating. The HOPE model focuses on increasing the chances that probation violations are detected and immediately punished (increasing the certainty and swiftness of sanctions). The goals of HOPE include reducing recidivism of probationers and the costs of incarceration associated with revocations and returns to prison, as probationers change their negative behaviors in response to the SCF sanctions.

The HOPE model is based on Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement program, which also employed random drug testing and imposed immediate graduated sanctions for violations.

Program Components
The HOPE program begins with a warning hearing before the HOPE judge, where expectations are outlined for probationers, including the drug-testing requirements and consequences for violations. The probationer is warned that any violation of the conditions of supervision (such as a positive drug test or lateness to office visits) will result in a violation hearing with the judge and a response to the violation (this usually begins with a few days in jail and then increases with subsequent violations).

After the hearing, probationers call in daily to a drug-testing hotline to determine if they must report to provide a urine sample. Initially, the random drug tests are conducted twice a week or between four and six times a month. If probationers have multiple clean tests,  their number of tests is reduced through a schedule that is set by the program (although they still have to have at least one drug test per month). Positive drug tests result in immediate short jail stays, whereas missed drug tests result in warrants, arrests, and short jail stays. Probationers who repeatedly fail drug tests are required to begin drug treatment, either in a residential placement or in the community; this allows for scarce treatment resources to be reserved for individuals who are not able to stop using drugs on their own.

HOPE probation officers are expected to monitor compliance with all other conditions of supervision (such as office visits, community services, or payment of any fines or restitution). Any violators are referred for warning hearings. Violations are addressed through sanctions that are graduated, with each successive violation receiving a harsher sanction (for example, 5 instead of 3 days in jail).

Program Theory
The underlying framework of the HOPE model was designed to allow probationers to develop an understanding of the relationship between their behavior and official responses to that behavior. Probationers learn that violations will be addressed through sanctions, even if the severity of those sanctions is low (such as a few days in jail). This approach incorporates elements of deterrence theory, as well as condition and learning theories, which aim to teach probationers that violations to supervision conditions have consequences and should result in changes in attitudes, perceptions of individual control over consequences, fairness, and legitimacy (Lattimore et al. 2016).

Additional Information: Negative Effects on Participants
Lattimore and colleagues (2016) found no statistically significant differences between the probationers in HOPE, compared with probationers in the probation as usual (PAU) control group, in the number of arrests, revocations, and time to failure (i.e., time to first arrest). However, the findings showed that the HOPE probationers had a statistically significant greater number of new convictions, compared with PAU probationers (0.50 versus 0.3, respectively).

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Arrests
Lattimore and colleagues (2016) found no statistically significant differences in the number of arrests during the follow up between the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) group and the probation-as-usual (PAU) group.

Revocations
There were no statistically significant differences in the percentage of probationers who had their probation revoked between the HOPE and PAU groups at the follow up.

New Convictions
HOPE probationers had a greater number of new convictions, compared with PAU probations (0.50 versus 0.3, respectively). This difference was statistically significant.

Time to Failure
There were no statistically significant differences between groups in time to failure (i.e., the time to first rearrest).
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
To test the effectiveness of the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) model, Lattimore and colleagues (2016) conducted a randomized controlled trial in four sites: 1) Saline County (Benton), Arkansas; Essex County (Salem), Massachusetts; Clackamas County (Oregon City), Oregon; and Tarrant County (Fort Worth), Texas. The demonstration field experiment (DFE) was conducted in Arkansas, Oregon, and Texas, in August 2012. It was conducted in Massachusetts in October 2012. One of the major goals of the DFE was to determine if positive findings from a study of the Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement program could be replicated in new sites.

Cases for the HOPE DFE were identified in three ways. First, new probation cases were identified at the time of sentencing. After an offender was sentenced to probation, the probation office administrator would collect basic information and refer the probationer to either a HOPE probation officer or to intake/assessment personnel, who determined risk status (i.e., high, medium, or low) and eligibility to participate in HOPE. A study referral slip was completed, which included a sequential study identification number and the random study assignment (i.e., to the HOPE treatment group or control group), which was covered by a scratch-off label. If an individual consented to participate in the study, the label was then scratched off to reveal their random assignment. Second, some cases were identified for HOPE eligibility who were already on probation when the study started. These cases included individuals who were on probation less than 6 months but still had at least 1 year of supervision remaining. Third, in two sites (Texas and Arkansas), the HOPE program coordinator worked with the probation officer to generate a list of individuals sentenced to probation within the 6 months prior to the start of the DFE. Probation officers reviewed the list to identify HOPE-eligible cases. The referral slip was completed (as described above) for those eligible individuals and sent to the program coordinator.

Eligibility to participate in HOPE was based on the following criteria: 1) risk (risk assessment to determine HOPE eligibility was based on either risk screening or assessment); 2) substance use (although nondrug-involved individuals were also eligible); and 3) time parameters (HOPE eligibility was limited to individuals who had 1 year or more remaining on their probation sentences). Juveniles, non-English-speaking individuals, out-of-county or intrastate transfers, interstate compact, and probationers assigned to some special caseloads were not eligible. A total of 1,580 probationers across the four sites were deemed eligible for HOPE; however, 76 individuals were subsequently excluded due to ineligibility criteria. The remaining 1,504 individuals were randomized to HOPE (n = 743) or probation as usual (PAU; n = 761). The final sample sizes were 342 (Arkansas), 392 (Massachusetts), 394 (Oregon), and 376 (Texas).

The average age of DFE participants at intake was 31 years, and the majority were male (81 percent). Most of the participants were deemed high risk (55 percent) and medium risk (24 percent), with the remaining classified as low risk (22 percent). On average, participants had been arrested an average of 7.3 times, with many showing prior arrests for person (56 percent), property (74 percent), drug (66 percent), and public order/other (77 percent) offenses. Information on race/ethnicity was not provided. There were no statistically significant differences at baseline between the groups, except on individuals assessed as low risk. There were more low-risk participants in the PAU group (24 percent), compared with the HOPE group (19 percent).

Administrative data were collected from local and state agencies that provided information on compliance with conditions of supervision, drug test results, referrals to treatment, sanctions, arrests, jail days, and prison incarcerations. The primary outcomes of interest were indicators of criminal recidivism, including arrest, revocations, new convictions, and time to failure (i.e., time to first rearrest). Comparison of characteristics between groups (within and among sites) was analyzed using t tests and analyses of variance. Survival models of criminal recidivism were also used, as well as competing hazards models. These were fit to the rest of the data using a Cox proportional hazards approach.
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Cost

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Cowell and colleagues (2018) conducted a cost analysis of the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program using data from the demonstration field experiment (DFE) conducted by Lattimore and colleagues (2016). The study focused on 625 probation cases, which had 24 months of data. Of these probationers, 311 were in the probation-as-usual (PAU) group, and 314 were in the HOPE group. Costs included office visits, drug tests, violation hearings, arrests, jail time, prison time, and residential drug treatment. The results showed that the per-probationer costs of the HOPE program were greater than the PAU (within each site), and cost differences increased over time. The cost differences also varied by site. For example, in Arkansas, the average cost per probationer was $4,126 in the PAU group, compared with $4,630 per probationer in the HOPE group. In Texas, the average cost per probationer was $5,951 in the PAU group, compared with $10,693 per probationer in the HOPE group.
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Implementation Information

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To asses the implementation fidelity of the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) model that was implemented across the four different sites, Lattimore and colleagues (2016) broke down the program model into a set of fidelity items that represented the essential elements of HOPE. The authors then measured the extent to which each site put those elements into practice. The key program elements included 1) leadership, 2) probationers who were assessed as high (or medium) risk, 3) warning hearing compliance, 4) initial drug testing frequency, 5) stepped down drug-testing frequency, 6) exceptions for missed drug testing, 7) time to violation hearing, 8) sanction type, 9) sanction dosage, 10) sanction certainty, and 11) sanction swiftness. Data on these elements were collected by each site’s program coordinator. Based on prior implementation science research, the authors examined fidelity at a 60-percent level and at a higher threshold of 80 percent.

The findings showed that implementation varied by site. Each site met the 60-percent fidelity standard on at least 9 of the 11 items, and each site met the 80-percent standard on at least half of the items. This suggests there was moderate to high fidelity of the HOPE model across the four sites.

A process evaluation by Zajac and colleagues (2015) provided additional, detailed information about the implementation process across the four sites.
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Other Information (Including Subgroup Findings)

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Lattimore and colleagues (2016) examined the outcomes for revocations and new convictions by site. For revocations, there was variation across the sites. Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) probationers showed a statistically significant greater likelihood of being revoked in Arkansas and Oregon, compared with probation-as-usual (PAU) probationers. There were no statistically significant differences between groups in revocations in Texas and Massachusetts.

For new convictions, HOPE probationers in Arkansas showed a statistically significant greater likelihood of having a new conviction, compared with PAU probationers. There were no statistically significant differences, in new convictions for specific types of offenses (including person, property, drug, and public order/other offenses). HOPE probationers in Texas showed a statistically significant lower likelihood of having a new drug conviction, compared with PAU probationers. There were no other statistically significant site differences.
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Evidence-Base (Studies Reviewed)

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Study 1
Lattimore, Pamela K., Doris Layton MacKenzie, Gary Zajac, Debbie Dawes, Elaine Arsenault, and Stephen Tueller. 2016. “Outcome Findings from the HOPE Demonstration Field Experiment: Is Swift, Certain, and Fair an Effective Supervision Strategy?” Criminology & Public Policy 15(4):1103–41.
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Additional References

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These sources were used in the development of the program profile:

Cowell, A.J., A. Barnosky, Pamela K. Lattimore, J.K. Cartwright, and M. DeMichele. 2018. “Economic Evaluation of the HOPE Demonstration Field Experiment.” Criminology & Public Policy 17(4):875–99.

Lattimore, Pamela K., Debbie Dawes, Doris Layton MacKenzie, and Gary Zajac. 2018. Evaluation of the Honest Opportunity with Enforcement Demonstration Field Experiment (DFE). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/251758.pdf

Zajac, Gary, Pamela K. Lattimore, Debbie Dawes, and Laura Winger. 2015. “All Implementation is Local: Initial Findings from the Process Evaluation of the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) Demonstration Field Experiment.” Federal Probation 79(1):31–36.
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Related Practices

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Following are CrimeSolutions.gov-rated practices that are related to this program:

Swift, Certain, and Fair Supervision Strategies for Drug-Involved Individuals
The practice comprises supervision strategies used by community supervision officers to address violation behavior of drug-involved individuals on probation and parole who are being supervised in the community. The goals are to generate greater compliance with supervision terms and, as a result, reduce recidivism. The practice is rated Promising for reducing crime rates of drug-involved individuals supervised in the community.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency - Multiple crime/offense types



Rehabilitation Programs for Adult Offenders
This practice includes programs that are designed to reduce recidivism among adult offenders by improving their behaviors, skills, mental health, social functioning, and access to education and employment. Offenders may become participants in rehabilitation programs during multiple points in their involvement with the criminal justice system. This practice is rated Promising for reducing recidivism among adult offenders.

Evidence Ratings for Outcomes:
Promising - One Meta-Analysis Crime & Delinquency
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Program Snapshot

Age: 21 - 41

Gender: Both

Geography: Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting

Program Type: Alcohol and Drug Therapy/Treatment, Alternatives to Incarceration, Probation/Parole Services, Wraparound/Case Management, Specific deterrence

Targeted Population: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders, High Risk Offenders

Current Program Status: Active