U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Changing the Behavior of Drug-Involved Offenders: Supervision That Works

Angela Hawken, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics and Policy Analysis, Pepperdine University; Mark Kleiman, Ph.D., Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Los Angeles

A small number of those who commit crimes are heavily involved in drugs commit a large portion of the crime in this country. An evaluation of a "smart supervision" effort in Hawaii that uses swift and certain sanctioning showed that individuals committing crimes who are heavily involved in drug use can indeed change their behavior when the supervision is properly implemented.

Drs. Angela Hawken and Mark Kleiman evaluated Hawaii's swift and certain supervision program, more commonly referred to as Hawaii HOPE. In this Research for the Real World seminar, they discussed what they learned and how the principles of HOPE are being applied elsewhere.

They discussed, for example, the types of individuals who are now being supervised under HOPE-style programs in Hawaii and on the mainland. They also discussed the important unanswered research questions, such as: the psychological mechanisms that underlie the dramatic behavior changes, the minimum effective sanction, whether sanctions should escalate, and when revocation is appropriate. They also discussed the wider implications for juveniles, alcoholics, pretrial releases and prisoners, as well as the appropriate role of the federal government.

Date Published: December 1, 2012