The Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement Project: A Potentially Worthwhile Correctional Reform
by Paul Larkin
The Heritage Foundation
February 28, 2014
Probation is a long-standing feature of the criminal justice system and is found in every state. Unfortunately, however, probation has not been as successful as its original proponents hoped that it would be: Approximately one-third of offenders placed on probation wind up in prison or abscond. In 2004, a Hawaii state court judge developed a new way of managing probationers that has shown the promise of reforming offenders and reducing costs borne by the criminal justice system and the public. That project—known as Hawaii Opportunity Probation with Enforcement, or HOPE—uses a fundamentally different approach to traditional probation supervision by seeking to address, among other issues, the fact that offenders would face a revocation hearing only after committing multiple probation violations. The federal and state governments should look to this program as a potentially valuable criminal justice reform.