Criminal Justice

Hawaii's Fix for the Crime Problem: Flash Incarceration


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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