Viewing Hawaii’s opportunity probation with enforcement (HOPE) program through a therapeutic jurisprudence lens

A/Prof Lorana Bartels1

1 Head, School of Law and Justice, University of Canberra, Canberra ACT 2601, 

Swift, certain and fair (SCF) sanctions have attracted both support and criticism for their apparent focus on deterrence to ensure participants’ program compliance. This paper examines the best-known SCF program, Hawaii’s Opportunity with Probation Enforcement (HOPE) program, through the lens of therapeutic jurisprudence. The paper will provide a brief overview of HOPE, including relevant findings from process and outcome evaluations. It will then describe observations of HOPE in practice, with particular focus on the warning hearing, sanctions for non-compliance and early termination for good behaviour. It will also consider the intersections between HOPE, therapeutic jurisprudence and procedural justice. These findings demonstrate that although the focus to date – by both proponents and critics – has been on deterrence, the model in fact demonstrates many features of drug courts. The paper concludes by arguing that HOPE can be best understood when viewed through a therapeutic jurisprudence lens.


Lorana Bartels (BA LLB LLM PhD GDLP GCTE) is the Head of the School of Law and Justice at the University of Canberra and an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of Tasmania. Her key areas of research interest include sentencing and correctional policy and practice, as well as the treatment of women and Indigenous peoples in the justice system.


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