The need for increased funding for HOPE / SCF


Swift, Certain, and Fair (SCF) is a set of principles applied to the management of behavior in various criminal justice contexts, particularly probation, parole and other types of community supervision, as well as prisons and institutions. prisons. Programs using the SCF models have improved compliance, helping those involved in criminal justice to stay out of prison, get parole, and / or fight drug addiction. HOPE / SCF-based program implementation and evaluation grants have been issued through BJA for nearly a decade to dozens of recipient agencies, and funding and reach widened of these grants will allow for more applications, better research, larger-scale programs, and longer-term support for existing programs.

Main conclusions

Various SCF-based programs, such as the HOPE program in Hawaii, have shown encouraging results:

  • HOPE participants were 55% less likely to be arrested for a new crime, 72% less likely to use drugs, and 61% less likely to miss a supervision appointment.[1]
  • The HOPE field demonstration experiment (DFE) funded by the BJA was not as successful, highlighting the importance of tailoring the implementation of the SCF to local needs.[2]
  • Michigan’s Swift and Sure Sanctions probation program has been shown to reduce recidivism and returns to segregation among those on probation, saving the state $ 1,300 per participant.[3]
  • It was found that participants in the Swift and Certain program in Washington State had a 30% chance of reducing their likelihood of a subsequent violent felony conviction, and their chances of being locked up were reduced by about 20%. % within 12 months of their return.[4]


The Department of Justice, through the BJA or other agencies, should extend HOPE / SCF funding to:

  • Enable state and local agencies to apply SCF principles to achieve broader goals and serve more types of clients, including:
    • Incarcerated persons
    • People with a history of domestic violence and other violent crimes
  • Encourage grantees to improve evidence of program effectiveness by: requiring grantees to work with (and pay for) evaluation partners,
    • Stipulate best empirical practices in research design,
    • Direct the funds to be used to improve data collection and management, and
    • Reassess data from previous programs.
  • Expand programs beyond the scale possible within current project budgets to:
    • Improve the rigor of evaluations, and
    • Enable more potential participants to benefit from promising interventions.
  • Extend the life of programs that have been shown to be effective by:
    • Extend funding for previously funded programs that have proven their worth,
    • Ensure continuity so that participants are not activated and deactivated HOPE / SCF, and
    • Encourage existing programs that have been evaluated but have not yet received federal funds to apply for them through the HOPE / SCF calls for tenders.

[1] Hawken, A., & Kleiman, MAR (2009). “Managing Drug-Related Probationers with Swift and Certain Sanctions: Evaluating HOPE Hawaii. Evaluation report »NCJ 229023. National Institute of Justice.

[2] Lattimore, PK, MacKenzie, DL, Zajac, G., Dawes, D., Arsenault, E., & Tueller, S. (2016). Results of the HOPE demonstration field experience: is an effective supervision strategy fast, safe and fair ?. Criminology and public policy, 15(4), 1103-1141.

[3] DeVall, Kristen E., Christina Lanier, and LaQuana N. Askew. 2017. “Intensive and Recidivism Supervision Programs: How Michigan Successfully Targets High Risk Offenders.” Prison diary 97 (5): 585-608.

[4] Hamilton, Z., van Wormer, J., Kigerl, C. and Posey, B. (2015). Washington State Department of Corrections (WADOC) Swift and Certain (SAC) Policy Process Evaluation, Outcome and Cost Benefit Evaluation.

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