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Evaluation of the Honest Opportunity Probation With Enforcement Demonstration Field Experiment (HOPE DFE)

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2018
268 pages
This is a multi-site evaluation of the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement Demonstration Field Experiment (HOPE DFE), which was a four-site, randomized controlled trial that replicated a Hawaii probation program widely touted as successfully reducing drug use, probation violations, and re-incarceration.

The HOPE regimen begins with a "warning" hearing in which a judge warns the probationers that strict adherence to probation requirements is the core element of HOPE. This is executed through swift hearings following violations and an immediate application of sanctions. Treatment is required for those who repeatedly fail random drug tests. This evaluation involved 1,504 HOPE-eligible individuals, who were randomly assigned to HOPE or to probation as usual (PAU) between August 2012 and September 2014. Participant characteristics varied across sites. The evaluation determined that the implementation of the HOPE model was good to excellent. Overall, HOPE did not reduce recidivism, however, as measured by arrest, revocation, and new conviction. Findings suggest that HOPE worked as well as but not better than PAU; however, 6-month median costs were significantly higher for HOPE than PAU overall. Given the consistency of findings across four sites that differed in the administration of PAU, this report concludes there is little to support a conclusion that HOPE or HOPE-like programs will produce substantial improvements over PAU when widely implemented. 173 exhibits, 129 references, and appended methodological tools

Date Published: February 1, 2018