A judge from Hawaii who created a probation program so successful in reducing crime, drug use and jail time that it has become the model of reforms across the nation was in Lansing Wednesday touting the benefits Michigan could realize if the state’s similar program were expanded statewide.
Judge Steven Alm, creator of Hawaii’s Honest Opportunity with Probation Enforcement, was brought to Michigan by State Senator John Proos, the sponsor of Michigan’s Swift and Sure Sanctions Probation Program.
The St. Joseph Republican says the proven results of the HOPE program were the main reasons he brought it to Michigan. Michigan’s Swift and Sure program began as a pilot project for counties with combined courts and drug courts.
Under a 2012 state law it became a permanent program, supervising high-risk probationers and requiring them to undergo frequent, random drug and alcohol testing so treatment decisions are based on the probationer’s behavior.
Proos says for Michigan to achieve the $25 million in annual savings, more judges need to be informed about the effectiveness of the program and eventually bring it to every courthouse in the state.
According to a report last month by the Council of State Governments Justice Center, 43 percent of Michigan judges did not know about the state’s Swift and Sure program.