Behavior modification programs used in corrections (in Correctional Counseling and Treatment)
The Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement program referred to as the HOPE model was started in 2004. The program places emphasis on close monitoring of the probationers placed under the community supervision, frequent testing for drug use, and immediate consistent sanctioning of those who violate the rules of probation. It is definitely a punishment-oriented model, and according to Zajac et al. (2015, p. 31), “The Hope model contrasts with the more traditional approaches to probation in which multiple violations of conditions and positive drug tests are tolerated.” Zajac et al. (2015, p. 34) state, “The underlying premise of HOPE is that it provides a framework within which probationers develop an understanding of the relationship between their behavior and official responses, learning that violations will be met with sanctions, even if the severity of the sanctions is low.” An essential feature of the HOPE program is providing the offenders under community supervision with information on the consequences (negative reinforcements) they can expect if they violate the conditions. The sentencing judge conducts a hearing and informs the probationers that their behavior will be closely monitored, that non-compliance of the conditions of probation will result in their arrest, and that they will be given a short sentence in jail. Each time there is a violation, the jail time will be lengthened, and new conditions of probation will be added. If the probationer commits multiple violations, probation will be revoked.
The HOPE program is not drastically different from many of the probation programs in operation throughout the United States, that is, sanctions will be given for violations of probation conditions, and if the violations are severe and frequent, the probation will be revoked. The major difference is that the probationer is provided with information about the type of sanction that will be given, the reason for the sanction, and the certainty that the sanction will be given. Several concerns, if not criticisms of HOPE and other probation programs fashioned on HOPE features, are:
• The body of research on HOPE is not sufficient to accept the HOPE model as being more effective than other more traditional models (Duriez, Cullen, & Manchak, 2014).
• The program is similar to police surveillance with not much emphasis on providing service or treatment to the clients, thus reverting back to the punishment era of corrections (Duriez et al., 2014).
• Not all districts will have the opportunity to use the jail as a sanctioning instrument, since many of the jails are always filled to capacity and there is no room for minor offenders.
• A different form of sanction, such as a community residential treatment center placement, would provide a more positive response for the frequent drug abuse offender.
• The major decisions are made by the court and probation staff, and the roles of others such as medical and psychology treatment providers are secondary in the case management of the persons being supervised (Zajac et al., 2015).
• Factors specifically related to local conditions, such as resources available, cooperation and coordination of justice agencies, and other factors have an effect on the extent the HOPE model can be implemented (Zajac et al., 2015).