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Economic Evaluation of the HOPE Demonstration Field Experiment

NCJ Number
Criminology & Public Policy Volume: 17 Issue: 4 Dated: 2018 Pages: 875-899
Alexander J. Cowell; Alan Barnosky; Pamela K. Lattimore; Joel K. Cartwright; Matthew DeMichele
Date Published
25 pages

The findings and methodology are reported for an evaluation of the Honest Opportunity Probation With Enforcement Demonstration Field Experiment (HOPE DFE).


The features of the HOPE probation model involve close monitoring; frequent drug testing; readily available substance abuse treatment; and swift, certain, and fair sanctioning to deter probationers from violating supervision conditions. The evaluation reported in this article assessed the costs and outcomes of the HOPE demonstration program across four jurisdictions, using 24 months of data from 625 probationers randomly assigned to probation as usual (PAU) or HOPE DFE. Evaluation results indicate that the HOPE DFE group incurred more criminal justice costs than the PAU group over the observation period. In addition, the evaluation determined that HOPE in the DFE was associated with higher rates of incarceration and residential treatment for probationers, leading to an increase in total costs when compared with PAU. Thus, jurisdictions choosing to implement programs like HOPE to hold probationers accountable would need additional resources from the criminal justice system to support the program. (publisher abstract modified)