Key Findings

Various SCF-based programs, like the HOPE program in Hawaii, have yielded 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 BJA-funded HOPE Demonstration Field Experiment (DFE) was not as successful, underscoring the importance of tailoring SCF implementation to local needs.[2]
  • Michigan’s Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program was shown to reduce recidivism and returns to confinement among people on probation, saving the state $1,300 per participant.[3]
  • Participants in Washington State’s Swift and Certain program were found to have 30% reduced odds of a subsequent violent felony conviction, and their odds of confinement were reduced by roughly 20% in the 12 months following reentry.[4]


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

  • Allow state and local agencies to apply SCF principles to meet broader goals and serve more types of clients, including:
    • Incarcerated people
    • People with records that include domestic violence and other violent crimes.
  • Encourage grantees to improve evidence of program effectiveness by:Requiring grantees to work with (and paying for) evaluation partners,
    • Stipulating best empirical practices in research design, 
    • Directing funds to be used for improved data collection and management, and
    • Reevaluating data from past programs.
  • Enlarge programs beyond the scale possible under current project budgets in order to:
    • Improve the rigor of evaluations, and 
    • Allow more potential participants to benefit from promising interventions.
  • Extend the lifespan of programs that have been found effective by:
    • Extending funding for previously funded programs that have demonstrated value,
    • Assuring continuity so that participants are not cycled on and off HOPE/SCF, and 
    • Encouraging existing programs that have been evaluated but have not previously received federal funds to apply for them under HOPE/SCF RFPs. 


[1] Hawken, A., & Kleiman, M. A. R. (2009). “Managing Drug-Involved Probationers With Swift and Certain Sanctions: Evaluating Hawaii’s HOPE. Evaluation Report” NCJ 229023. National Institute of Justice.

[2] Lattimore, P. K., MacKenzie, D. L., Zajac, G., Dawes, D., Arsenault, E., & Tueller, S. (2016). Outcome findings from the HOPE demonstration field experiment: Is swift, certain, and fair an effective supervision strategy?. Criminology & Public Policy15(4), 1103-1141.

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

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