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Honest Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (HOPE)

In collaboration with RTI, the Justice Center is utilizing a randomized control trial to study a probation program that involves swift, certain, and consistent sanctions. During this 5 year study, researchers will evaluate implementation of the program as well as recidivism outcomes.

Project Team

  • Co-Principal Investigator/Process Evaluation Task Leader: Gary Zajac, Ph.D. ()
  • Project Consultant: Doris MacKenzie, Ph.D., Adjunct Senior Scientist in Criminology- Retired
  • Research Assistant: Elaine Arsenault, M.A.

About the Project

  • 4 year NIJ-funded study in collaboration with RTI.
  • Testing the HOPE probation model in 4 sites across the country.

Research Questions

  • Do certain, swift, and consistent sanctions from the judge reduce drug use and recidivism in high-risk probationers?
  • What factors are involved in successfully implementing HOPE across different jurisdictions?

Project Details

  • Random assignment of 1600 probationers to HOPE or probation as usual.
  • Measuring various outcomes such as appointment compliance, drug test results, rearrest rates, jail dates served, criminal attitudes.


  • Results will inform future policies regarding best practices in probation.

Findings Summary