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The first statewide program modeled on HOPE is operating in Washington state. (Elaine Thompson/​The Associated Press)

New York — The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) today announced funding for two projects associated with the innovative Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) model, a promising high-intensity approach to probation and parole supervision that has been adopted by courts across the nation. First, LJAF will fund the Institute for Behavior and Health (IBH), an organization that will work with HOPE founder Judge Steven Alm to create a blueprint of the HOPE model. Second, LJAF will fund a team of researchers, led by Zachary Hamilton at Washington State University, to evaluate the first statewide program based on the HOPE model.

HOPE is unique because it calls for immediate and predictable punishments in response to violations of probation and parole. This is in contrast to the current practice in many jurisdictions where lengthy periods of time can pass between the point at which a violation is committed and a consequence is issued, and where punishments for the same offense may vary from one probationer to the next.

A 2009 review of HOPE by the National Institute of Justice found that the model showed encouraging results in reducing repeat offenses, decreasing drug use, and diminishing the likelihood that offenders would return to prison. Following the study, more than 85 courts in 25 states created programs based on the model, and many more are now considering implementation. Despite the rapid expansion of the model, little research has been conducted to help jurisdictions interested in adopting the model do so effectively. The LJAF grants announced today will address that critical need for more information.

If we want to reduce crime, increase public safety, and enhance fairness and efficiency in the criminal justice system, we must identify, evaluate, and scale promising new approaches,” said LJAF Vice President of Criminal Justice Anne Milgram. Initial reviews of the HOPE model are encouraging. We look forward to learning more from continued research on the model and to helping jurisdictions adopt the model effectively.”

The HOPE blueprint that will be produced by IBH will include a detailed description of the model as well as suggested steps and strategies that judges, probation officers, and law enforcement officials can use to implement the program. IBH will also conduct a nationwide survey of programs based on HOPE and will document any innovative enhancements to the original model. The blueprint and related project findings will be available on the IBH website in mid-2015.

The first statewide program modeled on HOPE is operating in Washington State. It covers all individuals released on parole as well as certain high-risk probationers. The second of the grants announced today will provide funding for researchers at Washington State University to examine the program’s impact on incarceration, recidivism, utilization of social service programs, criminal justice costs, and other important factors. The findings of the study will be submitted for publication in leading journals in mid-2015.

LJAF previously announced a partnership with the Hawaii Department of Public Safety and the Hawaii State Judiciary to determine whether the HOPE model can be effectively used in the pretrial context to improve public safety and reduce costs.

About the Institute for Behavior and Health

The Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. (IBH) identifies, develops, evaluates and promotes new ideas to prevent drug abuse. By encouraging creative non-partisan collaboration among diverse disciplines and perspectives, IBH ensures that both the public and private sectors work together to achieve the important public health goals of reducing illegal drug use.