Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement

Is "HOPE" Adaptable to Other Jurisdictions?

In a policy essay for Criminology & Public Policy, Professor Angela Hawken considers a recent evaluation of several states' efforts to adopt Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program — an approach to probation that proved highly successful in Hawaii. Her essay reiterates basic principles of public policy: an approach that succeeds in one jurisdiction may have mixed or negative results in another if it is not adapted for local context or it is applied to a significantly different population of people. Hawken argues that the principles of the HOPE program continue to hold promise for other jurisdictions but that better implementation and more testing are needed to determine its efficacy.

Alexander Cowell, Alan Barnosky, Pamela Lattimore, Joel Cartwright, and Matthew DeMichele (2018: 875–899) conducted a strong study of community supervision in the United States that informs our understanding of outcomes and costs associated with Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) at the four Demonstration Field Experiment (DFE) sites and of the outcomes and costs of probation more generally. The findings from their study reveal as many questions as they do answers. Most are not resolvable through science; rather, they are core philosophical questions about the role of community supervision, especially for persons supervised on charges related to illicit drug use. In this policy essay, I discuss the lessons learned from the economic evaluation of the HOPE DFE, pose questions that follow from the findings, and note several implications for future research.

Read Hawken's Essay

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