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The Important Idea Underlying Hawaii’s HOPE Court

| October 11, 2012

Last month, Judge Steven Alm of Hawaii’s HOPE Court published a piece in the Hawaii Reporter to clarify a point of confusion — whether HOPE provides drug treatment resources for addicts. In “Setting the Record Straight on HOPE Probation,” Judge Alm explained that HOPE is premised on the idea that not everyone needs state-provided treatment resources to stop using drugs; some people freely quit on their own when HOPE holds them accountable. Those who cannot quit, however, are indeed referred to treatment.  “This triage approach.” he wrote, “preserves precious treatment slots for those who really need them.”

From the available evidence (see chart below), Judge Alm’s underlying premise makes sense. If probation has real teeth, plenty of offenders stay clean without being referred to treatment, and this allows Hawaii to prioritize its limited treatment resources for the offenders who need them most.

The Hawaii HOPE Court


VIBRANT P. REDDY is Senior Fellow for criminal justice issues at the Charles Koch Institute. Previously, Reddy was the Senior Policy Analyst for both Right on Crime and the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for Effective Justice. He has authored several reports on criminal justice policy and is a frequent speaker and media commentator on the topic. Reddy has worked as a research assistant at The Cato Institute, as a law clerk to the Honorable Gina M. Benavides of the Thirteenth Court of Appeals of Texas, and as an attorney in private practice, focusing on trial and appellate litigation. Reddy graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Plan II Honors, Economics, and History, and he earned his law degree at the Southern Methodist University Dedman School of Law in Dallas. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and of the State Bar’s Appellate Section and Criminal Justice Section.