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A Hopeful Approach: Understanding the Implications for the HOPE Program

NCJ Number
Corrections Today
Date Published
September 2017
4 pages
Publication Series

This article presents findings from three studies of Hawaii's Honest Opportunity Probation With Enforcement (HOPE) program, which was developed in 2004 in an effort to create a more transparent and accountable probation system.


The three studies were funded by the U.S. Justice Department's National Institute of Justice (NIJ). One study examined the initial impact of the original Hawaii HOPE experiments. The second study was a 76-month follow-up of the original Hawaii HOPE cohort. The third study was the HOPE demonstration field experiment (DFE), which was a strict replication of the HOPE program in four jurisdictions in mainland states. The current analysis of these three studies focused on possible reasons for the differences in findings of the Hawaii HOPE and the HOPE DFE, concluding with a discussion of the HOPE DFE findings and their likely implications for policy and practice. The distinctive feature of the Hawaii HOPE program is a measured and proportionate sanction for each probation violation shortly after it occurs. The NIJ-funded evaluation of Hawaii's HOPE found that it contributed to a decrease in drug offenses by 26 percent in the first 3 months of the program and increased compliance with probation conditions. The 76-month study of the Hawaii HOPE program also showed promising program results, notably fewer returns to prison on average compared to controls. Although the HOPE DFE was a strict replication of the HOPE program in four mainland jurisdictions, preliminary evaluation findings did not show the earlier promising findings of the Hawaii HOPE evaluations. In discussing next steps, the current article indicates that the final findings of the HOPE DFE will produce comprehensive process, cost, and outcome findings that will reveal the conditions required to reproduce the results originally found in Hawaii's HOPE. 17 notes

Date Published: September 1, 2017