A New Slate Article on Swift and Certain Sanctions
Right on Crime followers should be sure to check out a piece on Slate today about the impressively effective HOPE program. HOPE—Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement—is a pilot program designed to lower recidivism rates and decrease prison populations through swift, certain, and proportionate punishments.
HOPE, which recently completed its first year, returned staggering decreases in crime—participants were 55% less likely to be arrested for new crime, 72% less likely to use drugs and 53% less likely to have probation revoked. Not only does this save taxpayers money, but it also effectively introduces the idea of personal responsibility. The program “immediately jails, for no more than three or four days, offenders who miss a probation appointment or fail a drug test.” Such “consistent, predictable, and prompt” punishment draws directly from basic psychology and general parenting principles—swift and certain punishment is a far more effective deterrent than arbitrary and unpredictable sanctions.
As the author notes, “HOPE offers something for everyone: liberals like it because it reduces time behind bars; conservatives like it because it strikes a no-tolerance attitude toward law-breaking; offenders like it because, compared with the normal system, it seems fair and consistent; and everyone can like it because it can potentially reduce the amount of money we spend putting and keeping Americans behind bars.”
HOPE speaks to Right On Crime’s basic principles because it saves money, punishes offenders, and encourages personal responsibility. Similar programs are already being implemented in Clackamas County, OR; Essex County, MA; Saline County, AK; and Tarrant County, TX.