Rethinking Prosecution: Innovative Approaches to Safety, Crime, and Justice (video)
HOPE discussion @44:30
San Francisco (CA) District Attorney Chesa Boudin and Honolulu (HI) Prosecuting Attorney Steve Alm discuss “Rethinking Prosecution: Innovative Approaches to Safety, Crime, and Justice.” Moderator: Camille Nelson, Dean, William S. Richardson School of Law.
From the Q&A:
· HOPE may work well for people who are not medical cannabis patients. Although the State recognizes the medical use of cannabis, these patients have been found to be in violation of probation if they use their medicine. How can this be fixed?
· Hope probation has managed, in many cases, to keep people under the surveillance of the criminal justice for many years—much more than would have happened if they had been sentenced. This appears to be a problem of the probation system, with requirements that are often impossible to meet. What would PA Alm do to improve the probation system—or does he not see any problem there?
· Why is possession of any amount of non-cannabis drugs punishable by 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine in Hawaii? Hawaii also has the highest average term of probation in the nation at 59 months. Wouldn’t sentencing reform that defelonized or decriminalized personal drug possession and use signifcantly reduce the number of people in the criminal legal system?
· Actually, the best scholarly evidence about HOPE shows that it is not more effective than regular probation. See Frances Cullen et al, “When Bad News Arrives: Project HOPE in a Post-Factual World” (Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, Feb 2018), and see 3 well-designed studies in the November 2016 issue of Criminology & Public Policy (there are several commentaries about these studies in this same issue, including one by Mr. Alm).