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Program Profile: Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE)

Evidence Rating: Promising - One study Promising - One study

Date: This profile was posted on May 31, 2011

Program Summary

A community supervision strategy for substance-abusing probationers, particularly for those who have long histories of drug use and involvement with the criminal justice system, and considered at high risk of failing probation or returning to prison. The program is rated Promising. Participants were less likely to miss appointments with probation officers, use drugs and be arrested.

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

Program Description

Program Goals, Target Population
Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) is a community supervision strategy for substance-abusing probationers. The main goals of HOPE are to reduce drug use, recidivism, and incarceration. HOPE targets probationers who generally have long histories of drug use and involvement with the criminal justice system and who are considered at high risk of failing probation or returning to prison. HOPE begins with a warning/notification hearing in front of a judge, who makes expectations of compliance clear to the probationer: violation of probation conditions will not be tolerated, and each violation will result in an immediate brief stay in jail.

HOPE was designed with a theoretical foundation that emphasizes clearly defined behavioral expectations for probationers, the use of swift and certain sanctions when probationers fail to comply with those expectations, and elements of procedural justice that make it clear to probationers that courtroom members (probation officers and supervising judges) want them to succeed.

Program Activities
Once an offender is selected to participate in HOPE, they are assigned to a color group that corresponds to a required frequency of drug testing. HOPE probationers are required to call an automated drug testing hotline every morning, and if their color is selected for the day and announced on the hotline, they are required to report to the courthouse for drug testing before 2 p.m. that day. In the beginning, probationers are usually tested at least six times per month (about once a week). Over time, the frequency of drug testing may lessen: probationers are rewarded for compliance, and negative drug tests can result in an assignment of a new color associated with less-frequent testing.

The sanctioning process of HOPE happens quickly. If a probationers’ drug test is positive, they are arrested on the spot and taken to jail. If a probationer fails to appear for a drug test, a bench warrant is issued immediately and served by the police. As soon as a violation is detected, the probation officer completes a “Motion to Modify Probation” form and sends it to the judge. A hearing on the motion is usually held within 72 hours of the filing, with a probationer confined in the interim.

Program Theory
HOPE is different from most diversion and drug court programs in that it does not attempt to impose drug treatment on every probationer. Instead, it relies on a Behavioral Triage Model. Rather than require all probationers to receive drug treatment (even those without substance abuse disorders), an offender’s need for treatment is based on observed behavior signals, such as positive drug tests, rather than through self-reporting. Probationers are sentenced to drug treatment only if they continue to test positive for drug use or if they request a treatment referral.

Evaluation Outcomes

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Study 1
Probation Appointments
Hawken and Kleiman (2009) found statistically significant differences between participants in Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) and in the comparison group. In terms of the primary outcomes, HOPE participants were 61 percent less likely to skip or miss appointments with probation officers than the comparison group. The HOPE group had an average of only 9 percent no-shows for probation appointments, while the comparison group had 23 percent.

Drug Use and Arrest
In addition, HOPE participants were 72 percent less likely to have a positive urine test compared to the comparison group. Comparison group members had an average of 46 percent positive urinalyses versus 13 percent of HOPE participants. Finally, HOPE participants were 55 percent less likely to be arrested for a new crime. Of comparison group members, 47 percent were arrested, compared to only 21 percent of HOPE participants.

Secondary Outcomes
Even with secondary outcomes, HOPE participants showed significantly better outcomes than the comparison group. HOPE participants were 55 percent less likely to have their probation revoked. The revocation rate for HOPE participants was 7 percent; the comparison group had twice that rate (15 percent). HOPE participants also spent an average of 48 percent fewer days incarcerated. They were sentenced on average to 138 days of incarceration while the comparison group had an average of 267 days’ incarceration.
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Evaluation Methodology

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Study 1
A study by Hawken and Kleiman (2009) used a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE). Participants eligible for the study included all probationers, men and women, who were over 18 years of age and under community supervision by the Adult Client Services probation unit in Honolulu, Hawaii. The study group was randomized to one of two conditions: HOPE (treatment group, n= 330) or treatment-as-usual (control group, n= 163). HOPE probationers were on average 36.1 years old and 75 percent male. They were 65 percent Asian/Polynesian; 16 percent white; 13 percent Portuguese, Puerto Rican, or Other/Unknown; and 5 percent African American. There were no statistically significant differences between the treatment or control groups on these characteristics.

The primary outcomes included the percent of no-shows for probation appointments, positive urine tests for illicit-substance use, and rearrest rates. The secondary outcomes included the percent of revocation rates and the average days of incarceration. No-shows for probation appointments were calculated as the average percentage of missed appointments for each offender, giving equal weight to each offender regardless of how many appointments were scheduled. Positive urinalysis results were calculated as the percentage of positive urinalyses tests for each offender, again giving equal weight to each offender regardless of how many tests they were subject to.

Data was collected from two administrative data sources: PROBER, a case-management system used by probation offices in Hawaii, and the Criminal Justice Information System. The study used an intent-to-treat design so that all subjects assigned to HOPE were included in the outcome data, whether or not they appeared for their warning hearing. The randomization process took place in October 2007, which was the study start date for all participants. The follow-up period was 1 year later, October 2008.

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There is no cost information available for this program.
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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
Hawken, Angela, and Mark Kleiman. 2009. Managing Drug Involved Probations With Swift and Certain Sanctions: Evaluating Hawaii’s HOPE. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.
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Additional References

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

Alm, Steven S. 2010. “HOPE for the Criminal Justice System.” The Champion, August 2010:28–30.

Hawai’i State Judiciary’s HOPE Probation Program. N/d. “About HOPE Probation.” Accessed January 20, 2011.

Hawken, Angela. 2010. “HOPE for Probation: How Hawaii Improved Behavior with High-Probability, Low-Severity Sanctions.” The Journal of Global Drug Policy and Practice 4(3). Accessed January 20, 2011.

Hawken, Angela. 2010. “The Message from Hawaii: HOPE for Probation.” Perspectives: The Journal of the American Probation and Parole Association 34(3):36–49.

Hawken, Angela. 2010. “Behavioral Triage: A New Model for Identifying and Treating Substance-Abusing Offenders.” Journal of Drug and Policy Analysis 3(1).

Kiyabu, Richard, Joachim Steinberg, and Minako Yoshida. 2010. Hawai’i’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE): An Implementation Analysis. The University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Accessed January 20, 2011.
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Related Practices

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Following are practices that are related to this program:

Focused Deterrence Strategies
Problem-oriented policing strategies that follow the core principles of deterrence theory. The practice is rated Promising. The evaluation found that focused deterrence strategies (also referred to as “pulling levers" policing) can reduce crime.

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

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
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Program Snapshot

Age: 18+

Gender: Both

Race/Ethnicity: Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, White, Other

Geography: Rural, Suburban, Urban

Setting (Delivery): Other Community Setting, Courts

Program Type: Alternatives to Incarceration, Probation/Parole Services, Specific deterrence

Targeted Population: Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Offenders

Current Program Status: Active

Listed by Other Directories: Campbell Collaboration

Program Director:
Steven S. Alm
Judiciary State of Hawaii
Ka’ahumanu Hale, 777 Punchbowl Street
Honolulu HI 96813
Phone: 808.539.4646

Angela Hawken
Associate Professor
School of Public Policy, Pepperdine University
24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu CA 90263
Phone: 310.506.7608
Fax: 310.506.7494