Michigan Considers Swift & Sure Sanctions

In an effort to more effectively supervise probationers and parolees, Michigan is looking to Hawaii for answers. Specifically, the HOPE Court, founded in Hawaii in 2005, provides swift and sure sanctions for supervision violations. This is a more effective method of supervising offenders in the community because the prospect of immediate sanctions, including a weekend in jail, deters far more misbehavior than long-off, delayed, and less-than-probable revocations.

In the original HOPE Court, this method has reduced positive drug tests by 86 percent and reduced missed probation appointments by 80 percent. Revocations as well as reoffending are down more than 50 percent.

Other jurisdictions—including Fort Worth, Texas, and New Jersey—have followed suit. Increases in reoffending, as well as high numbers of technical violators being sent to prison, are causing Michigan officials to consider whether they too should adopt the swift and sure sanction model. Given the dramatic gains in public safety, as well as millions in taxpayer savings possible, the HOPE Court could provide hope for Michigan’s correctional system.

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