Discuss HOPE at 22:12—28:06
The architect of HOPE probation, a program through which defendants face escalating penalties for bad behavior, Alm is an advocate of treatment and supervision more than incarceration.
Kau also said that HOPE probation doesn’t work because it gives offenders too many opportunities to mess up.
“The criminals know they can get around the system,” she said.
Alm pointed to a 2010 study by Pepperdine University and UCLA that shows HOPE probationers were 55% less likely to be arrested for a new crime.
“Do you really want to send someone to prison for five years for testing positive for meth a couple times? No,” he said.
Versions of HOPE have been replicated in 33 states and Guam, Alm said. While it did show early promise locally, more recent studies in other places have raised serious doubt about its efficacy. Alm continues to preach the HOPE gospel, however, in a case of what one group of professors called “ignoring bad news.”
Native Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. What would you do to address racism and discriminatory treatment in law enforcement?
I would encourage the expansion of judiciary programs that have been found to eliminate discriminatory outcomes for defendants. For example, research by Pepperdine and UCLA found that Native Hawaiian felony defendants on regular probation got revoked and sent to prison 26 percent of the time, while Native Hawaiians on HOPE Probation got revoked and sent to prison only 15 percent of the time, a rate comparable to other ethnic groups. Given that the HOPE judge supervises more than 2,000 felony probationers at once, that means hundreds of Native Hawaiian men and women have succeeded on probation and avoided going to prison because they were in HOPE.
I believe that the HOPE strategy succeeds because the probationers perceive, and in fact, are treated fairly. The rules and sanctions are clear and are enforced consistently across the board. This reduces the opportunity for bias, conscious or not, with HOPE probationers.
Jails and prisons are overcrowded and Hawaii’s correctional facilities are in poor physical condition. What would you do to reduce overcrowding in the jails and prisons?
As a judge and prosecutor I have believed that research and data should guide criminal justice policy as opposed to “gut feelings,” anecdote, hearsay, or “We’ve always done it this way.”
I would promote new and innovative strategies, as well as proven ones, that reduce the number of people arrested and sent to jail and prison and that reduce recidivism.
HOPE Probation has succeeded in reducing arrests for new crimes and in helping people succeed on felony probation and avoid going to prison. Research by Pepperdine and UCLA showed that HOPE probationers, when compared to those in regular probation, were arrested for new crimes 55 percent less often and served/were sentenced to 48 percent fewer days in prison. Expanding HOPE in Probation and into pretrial and parole will yield similar reductions. Recent research found that those in HOPE Pretrial were arrested for new felonies 42 percent less often than those in regular pretrial.
Fenton did her homework on the candidates.
“It seemed like he was very interested in integrity and strong ethics, and that’s very important to me,” she said. “Learning about the HOPE program, I feel he is trying to set up programs to help people.”
HOPE, which stands for Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement Program, was Alm’s creation.
“That clinched it for me, because as a person who specializes in supporting children who have behavioral concerns, I know that positive behavioral support is the evidence-based approach to improving behavior. The HOPE program is focused not on punishing problematic behavior but teaching people what to do instead of committing crimes. That jumped right out at me as a teacher.”