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Hawaii’s Fix for the Crime Problem: Flash Incarceration

Posted Jul 24, 2008 5:19 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Hawaii has developed an innovative probation program that seems to be significantly more effective than the standard approach in scaring offenders straight.

Dubbed "flash incarceration," it focuses on immediate, short-term punishment--in the form of a brief jail term--for virtually any probation violation. Once offenders begin following the rules regularly, supervisors ease up a bit, reports the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.). The approach is known as HOPE--Hawaii's Opportunity Probation with Enforcement.

"The million-dollar question," says Honolulu prosecuting attorney Peter Carlisle is whether HOPE reduces recidivism by probationers. "Intuitively I would believe that it does," he says, "but you've got to show me."

Statistics intended to answer that question are expected later this year.

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