WASHINGTON, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and National Institute of Justice (NIJ) today announced four communities received funding to create court-based programs to prevent probationers from re-offending. The four communities - Clackamas County, Ore; Essex County, Mass; Saline County, Ark; and Tarrant County, Texas – are part of the Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) project and funded through the Second Chance Act of 2007 (Public Law 110-199, section 245). The sites vary widely in population, density, and geographic location.
NIJ awarded funding to the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International of North Carolina. The evaluation team will seek to determine the impact of HOPE in reducing probationer re-offending, and also identify the likely challenges and costs a jurisdiction should expect when implementing this program.
This HOPE project is modeled after a successful court-based program initiated in 2004 by Judge Steven S. Alm of Hawaii's First Circuit Court, titled the Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE) program. The Hawaii program identifies probationers with a high risk for re-offending, focusing on reducing drug use, new crimes, and incarceration. Offenders are deterred from using drugs and committing crimes by frequent and random drug tests, backed by swift and certain jail stays, along with treatment, when necessary.
"It is important we use research and evidence to inform the development of practice and policy, and this collaboration between BJA and NIJ has the potential to provide a crucial option for jurisdictions to improve offender outcomes and reduce spending on corrections," said BJA Director Denise E. O'Donnell.
BJA is partnering with Pepperdine University to provide training, technical assistance, and coaching to each of the sites. The Pepperdine team will work to enhance the sites' efforts to plan and implement the program during the project period.
For NIJ Director Dr. John H. Laub, it is not just about "finding the evidence that something works; it is figuring out how to implement the evidence in the field and understanding why it works." This approach "places a priority on applicability; that is, research with the potential for practical implementation."
For more about the HOPE program, please visit http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/funding/hopesol.htm.
The Office of Justice Programs (OJP), headed by Assistant Attorney General Laurie O. Robinson, provides federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP has six components: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; the Office for Victims of Crime; and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. More information about OJP can be found at http://www.ojp.gov.
SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice - Office of Justice Programs