Bringing HOPE to Hawaii’s Justice System

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    • 00:01

      [MUSIC PLAYING][Bringing HOPE to Hawaii's Justice System][Judge Steven S. Alm]

    • 00:20

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: My name is Steven Alm.I'm a circuit court judge in Honolulu, Hawaii.I worked at the city prosecutor's office,then I was the United State's Attorneyunder President Clinton. [Steven S. Alm, LD, First Circuit CourtJudge] And then in 2001, I became a state trial judge.I'm assigned to the criminal division.

    • 00:35

      DENNIS TAMURA: My name is Dennis Tamura.[Dennis Tamura, Ex-convict].I'm 63 years old, and I have been in criminality,I guess, for over 40 years.In the late 60s when I was in high school,that was when a lot of drugs came out.

    • 00:57

      DENNIS TAMURA [continued]: And I ended up in that, um, crowd.And it led me all the way to prison.

    • 01:04

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: We had about at sentencing,maybe 25% of the defendants get sent to prison.That means about 75% are going to be placedon community supervision.That means probation or a deferral,where they get to keep their record clean.

    • 01:18

      DENNIS TAMURA: Even my family would tell me,and I would really believe is that I wouldn't and cannot stopuntil I'm in prison.And I believed that, you know, for a while.And my family believed that.And it looked really logical.

    • 01:32

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: Many people fail at probation.We have caring POs, we have judges that care about them.But the way the system was set up, many of the probationerswere failing.That's why 11 years ago, I started Hawaii's OpportunityProbation, or HOPE Probation.

    • 01:52

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: Our system is great, I think, because we have good attorneyson both sides, prosecutors, public defenders,or private event counsel.So disputes should be resolved in the court house.They shouldn't be resolved outside.We started this program, HOPE Probation,which is a different way to do probation,but we think it's effective.And we have research from Pepperdine and UCLAshowing people in HOPE compared to regular probation,

    • 02:15

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: are getting arrested for new crimes 20% less often.And they're failing at probation and going to prison halfas often.On regular probation, probation as usual,the POs-- Probation Officers-- typicallyhave pretty big case loads, 100, 125,150 felony probationers each.At sentencing, the judges impose a list of conditions to follow.

    • 02:38

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: The problem is in Hawaii and across the country,even though everybody cares-- theywant to make it work-- when it comesto a sanctioned structure, if people violatethe conditions of probation and the probation officerswant to bring them back to court and sanction them,typically, the only sanction that can be leviedis the underlying 5 or 10 year prison term.

    • 03:02

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: So in some ways, the probation officersare going to talk to their clients, work with them,use all of their skills as social workersand try to help them succeed.But a lot of defendants on probation have real problems.And without swift and certain consequencesto help them deal with those problems,those problems are often going to continue.

    • 03:22

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: And I just thought to myself, there'sgot to be a better way to supervise people on probation.And I really sat down and thought, if this didn't work,what would work?And I thought about the way my wifeand I had raised our son, who was 15 at the time.He knows he's in a family that cares about him,but he also knows if he misbehaves,there's going to be a consequence right away.

    • 03:43

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: And that's helped him tie togetherbad behavior with a consequence, and learn from it.That's how we were raised.We knew our parents cared about us, but if we misbehaved,they did something immediately.They didn't wait six months and thenkick us out of the house, which in a way,is the way probation as usual tends to work.

    • 04:03

      DENNIS TAMURA: I like to compare himto a good parent, where you deal with the problem right away.You get your consequence, and then, come here son,I love you.But you know, I had to do this to you and move on.And even though that may sound common, in our family,

    • 04:23

      DENNIS TAMURA [continued]: it wasn't.So it was-- wow, this guy is not--this judge is not holding it against me,not threatening me and using guilt and scare tactics.He's just telling me straight what will happen to me,and I really do care and I can give you a chance.And I believe that you can make a better life.

    • 04:43

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: And so the trick, then, was thinking OK,if I want to have swift, certain, proportionate andconsistent consequences, what is itgoing to take to get the system organizedto allow that to happen?OK, good morning.The purpose of this hearing is for me to talkto you about HOPE probation.Because today's going to be your first day in HOPE.

    • 05:07

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: I want to first say, everybody in this courtroomwants you to succeed on probation.The prosecutor does, your attorneys do, I do,every taxpayer in Hawaii whether they know it or not,should want you to succeed.It costs $46,000 a year to lock men up at Halawa,or women at Women's.But that day never has to happen.

    • 05:28

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: If you folks want to be successful on probation,you can.And most people are.You know, in the way I view it isyou didn't get sent to prison, yougot put on probation by the other judge.That means he believed you could--or she believed you could succeed on probation.And I believe that too.But at the same time, whether you realized it or not,you're making a deal, then, with the judge and the PO

    • 05:50

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: that you're going to do your very bestto follow these rules.If you do that, you will be successful on probation.I make mistakes, you make mistakes.So you know, we all make mistakes.But the question, then, is how do you handle itif you make a mistake?It's like you're playing ball, right?You get knocked out.What do you do?Lie there and cry?Or do you get up and you get back into it, right?

    • 06:11

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: I mean, this is what life is all about.What I wanted to do was have people show upat the probation office.If they tested positive for methamphetamine-- whichis our biggest illegal drug here and they admittedto use-- I wanted them arrested on the spot, taken to jail,and then brought back to court in two days' time,with the idea that the person would admit

    • 06:34

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: to the violation of probation, and then Iwould release them from jail.Because they made one mistake by using, but thenthey didn't make a second mistakeby coming in and lying about it or worse yet, running away.So it was rewarding good behaviorand helping people deal with their drug problemsor their alcohol problems.

    • 06:53

      DENNIS TAMURA: The consequence of going to jailfor breaking the law is nobody reallywill argue with that, because that's wrong.

    • 07:01

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: So I first sat downwith a gifted and innovative probationsupervisor named Cheryl Inouye.She had been in the system for a long time.I explained what I wanted to do.Essentially, deconstruct that 20 violation motionto revoke probation, and go back to the first violationand every violation, and impose the shortest possible jail

    • 07:21

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: time for each violation that would help the offender tietogether a behavior with a consequence and learn from it.She then went off and figured outa way to make this HOPE strategy integrate or meshwith all the current good things sheand her probation officers were already doingwith the felony probationers.

    • 07:42

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: They were doing motivational interviewing,they were trying to help people talk about change.They were trying to refer them to treatment if needed.Try to develop a therapeutic relationship with themto help them succeed.

    • 07:55

      DENNIS TAMURA: My-- my appeal was really on me.And not really trying to dissect everything I say,but more supportive when I'm doing good, letting me know,and just sitting me live my life outsideof being monitored, as long as I'm doing OK

    • 08:16

      DENNIS TAMURA [continued]: and doing what is asked.

    • 08:18

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: I asked Ms. Inouye,could she identify the clients that her high-risk section wassupervising as of October 1st of '04.And her unit supervised any sex offender whowas not sent to prison at sentencingwere supervised by her unit.And secondly, people that were convictedof a variety of felonies-- theft, drugs, violence,

    • 08:39

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: assaults-- and started in main branch probation,but because of drug and alcohol issues--had their probations transferred to Cheryl's unit.And so she was able to tell her POs,we're going to try something new.And this is a challenge for POs, because theylose some discretion at the very front end.And Cheryl said, yeah, we do.

    • 09:00

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: But at the same time, we have discretionin working with the court on what treatmentprograms to send people to.Is it better to try a different kind of therapy,and lo and behold, once this program started,felony probationers started showing upfor their appointments.And they were sober.And we could actually be the change agents

    • 09:22

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: that we always wanted to be, whichis why we became POs to begin with.Make sure you call the PO to say, I'm going to be late.But if-- so the hotline runs until one o'clock.We have to have a deadline, right?Or there's no end to this.So if you're running late-- say, you come here at 10 after 1:00.Do that.Show up anyway if you're going to be late, because we

    • 09:43

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: want to see if you are clean.You show up late, 1:10, you test clean, you won't get arrested,same thing.We'll set a hearing a couple of days later,you'll get a cell block sanction.At sentencing, judges can look at a person's history--oh, you've been on probation before, you didn't do well,you've got a meth problem.I'm going to recommend that you go to HOPE.Or if there's a persons on probation as usual

    • 10:05

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: and there's a motion to revoke probation,that goes in front of the original judge.At that time often, they've said,we've tried regular probation.That didn't work.We're going to recommend you get transferred to HOPE.And the other way is maybe they're on probation as usual,and they start having problems.They test positive, they miss appointments.The probation officer, then, will send an email

    • 10:25

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: to the original judge saying, this person is having problems.They're testing dirty, they're missing appointments.I recommend we transfer him to Judge Alm and put them in HOPE.And that's how it comes in here.And occasionally, it's part of plea agreementsbetween the prosecution and the defense.Four years of probation, but make it HOPE probation.So the one category of person who automatically is

    • 10:46

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: put in HOPE are sex offenders.That is the single category.And some of the sex offenders have drug and alcohol issues,but many don't.So for those folks, not seeing your probation officer,not going to sex offender treatment,contact with the victim, all of those resultin an immediate arrest.When we take people into HOPE, theyhave the same conditions as anybody else.

    • 11:07

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: But at the very beginning, we identifiedwhat we call targeted violations, whereeach and every one of those would lead to a jail sentence.So positive drug test, missed appointments,not going or failing at treatment,those were the three we focused on at first.And then as time went on, we expanded a little bit more.

    • 11:28

      DENNIS TAMURA: I got into HOPE not really wanting toin the beginning, because I wanted an easier probationwhere I could continue to do illegal thingsand not be really monitored.

    • 11:41

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: We set up whatI called a warning hearing.We had attorneys on both sides, prosecutors, public defenders,private counsel, the probation officers were there as well.And of the assembled groups, I told themeverybody in this courtroom wantsyou to succeed on probation.So from now on, if you don't followthe rules, any violation of probation,

    • 12:02

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: you're going to get some time in jail.

    • 12:04

      DENNIS TAMURA: When I got into HOPE,I didn't really realize that I had to change.The judge ordered me to get detoxed and into a program.And I realized that they communicate.So I couldn't pull something on the programand the judge wouldn't know.

    • 12:25

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: You run into the wrong old friends,and you get high.If you then come in and admit it to the probation officer,you will get arrested, but you're onlygoing to do two days in jail.If you test positive and deny it, we'll send it to the lab.But if the lab confirms it, you're going to do 15 days.And if you run away and make law enforcement look for you,you're going to do at least 30 days.

    • 12:46

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: And if that happens repeatedly, I'mgoing to send you to prison.We all want you to succeed, but you have to make good choices.

    • 12:53

      DENNIS TAMURA: With home probation,we call in every day.So if I used and got away with it so many times,the odds are one day, I'm going to get caught.

    • 13:06

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: In regular probation,they're going to get a bunch of chances, but then the PO,there's a lot of slack.And in the meantime, they're continuing to use drugs.They're not showing up for appointments.The PO is chasing them down.And then they're going to come into the motion revokedprobation and want me to give them the 5 or 10 years.And I think from an offender's standpoint, that's arbitrary.Nothing happened the first 10 times I did something wrong.

    • 13:28

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: So now, all of a sudden, I'm number 11,I'm going to get revoked and go to prison.The PO is prejudice.Or he's having a bad day.Or the judge is a jerk.In HOPE, we lay it all out at the warning hearing.I lay out what like the sanctions are.I encourage them to succeed, and then it'son them to make those choices.And then they're going to get whatever the sanction is.

    • 13:50

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: So we believe the policy should be setting outwhat your sanctions are, and the defendant's behavior isgoing to fit into one of those likely sanctions.We just go with based on the paperwork we have,and the sanction is going to be pretty predictable each time,which we are convinced is part of the backboneof this program.

    • 14:10

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: And that is fairness.The probationers know what the likely sanctions are,so if they commit it and they're in jail, it's on themand they get that.You run away, it's going to be 30 days in jail.But like I say, that doesn't have to happen.OK Mr. Bass, who is responsible forwhether you follow the rules on probation or not?

    • 14:28

      MR BASS: I am, your Honor.

    • 14:29

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: I agree.Everybody?You're responsible.OK and Mr. Gellis, if you manage to be successful in probationand avoid going to Halawa or Arizona,who's responsible for that?

    • 14:41

      MR. GELLIS: I am, your Honor.

    • 14:42

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: I agree.I know you guys don't want to embarrass yourselves and geton MidWeek's fugitive issue, right?Or on TV on all the networks on Hawaii's Most Wanted.I guarantee you that will never happen.You know, Midweek publishes everybody's face.Usually it's people's family members-- or Hawaii's MostWanted-- who see their names and then

    • 15:02

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: they call the Sheriff to come pick them up.Or people see their own names.But that never has to happen.Just don't let a warrant sit there.So the two basic rules here are don't commit a new crime,don't run away.There was a smart judge once who said,we should be sending people to prison who we're afraid of,not who we are mad at.And I-- and I absolutely believe that.

    • 15:22

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: I think that's a real benchmark of the way we ought to operate.There's too much anger, there's too much irritationon the part of judges and the attorneysand the criminal justice system.

    • 15:32

      DENNIS TAMURA: As a criminal, you know, it'slike they're the bad guys.We're the good guys.To them, though, we're the bad guys.And it's on two opposite sides.But on the whole probation is we working togetherwith the judge.

    • 15:42

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: And so when people are on HOPE probation,I will give them multiple chances.As long as they're not running away repeatedly or committingnew felonies, if they're going to keep trying,I'm going to keep trying.

    • 15:53

      DENNIS TAMURA: Eventually our attitude would change, too.Because we realized this man is trying to help us, actually.It's not like I can go sit out and do another 10 yearsand come out and try again, and-- I still have a chance.

    • 16:06

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: And part of itis we are trying to change people's thinking.You've got to change the thinkingto change the behavior.That is difficult.

    • 16:16

      DENNIS TAMURA: Thinking like a criminal all my life is justthe only thing I know.Even, I catch myself when I got stuck in a bind,the first thinking is my old thinkingcome back, like, well maybe, I can do this.Then I realize that that's all I know.And if that's all I really knew today,I would end up back there.

    • 16:37

      DENNIS TAMURA [continued]: After a while, it's just-- it's justdumb to keep on doing the same thing, you know?

    • 16:43

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: But it's working,because we have good data showing that it works.Through Dr. Hawkin of Pepperdine and Mark Kleiman of UCLA,in 2007 to 2008, they did a randomized control trial study.The people in HOPE tested positive 72% less oftenthan the people on probation as usual.They missed 61% fewer appointments,

    • 17:04

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: they were getting revoked half as often,and they were going to prison fully half as often.You know, I'm going to grant both.You were eligible for a chance to keep your record cleanand get the deferral, right?Your attorney has asked me to reconsider that initial denial.And I'm sure the judge had concerns

    • 17:24

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: because of the type of case it was.But I'm a big believer in consequences, good and bad.And so I think based on your good behavior with this now,I'm going to grant the motion to reconsider.That puts you on a deferral.I'm also granting a motion to terminate.So as of today, February 26, 2016,

    • 17:45

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: you are no longer under court supervision, and these charges,these convictions will get erased from your record.So congratulations.[APPLAUSE]With HOPE, we have now found a wayto really reduce the amount of drugsand alcohol people on probation are using.And that's better for them, it's better for the community.

    • 18:07

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: If we could go HOPE across the country,we could vastly reduce the drug use in the United States.Because we have shown that.People in HOPE test positive 72% less often than peopleon probation as usual.And if people aren't using drugs and seeing their probationofficer, they can actually start to get their lives together.

    • 18:29

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: And we've discovered most of the people in probationcan stop using drugs without going to treatment.That was a remarkable finding.

    • 18:37

      DENNIS TAMURA: So I had to start complying slowly by OK,I'll not doing anything wrong.What I had to do is put HOPE probationabove everything else.If HOPE probation was second, I'dbe doing something else first.And it doesn't work that way.So I HOPE probation taught me to get my life in order,

    • 18:59

      DENNIS TAMURA [continued]: gave me hope, and gave me some guidelinesuntil I could eventually start making them for myself.

    • 19:08

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: 51% did not have a single positive drugtest the first year.28% only had one.And most of those folks were not in treatment.We have great drug treatment programs in Hawaii,but we have 8,000 people on felony probation, of whichprobably 85% to 90% have drug and alcohol issuesthat we have to look at to see if it's

    • 19:29

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: a real problem in their life.Which is why the treatment programs in Hawaiilove the HOPE strategy.Because the only people now that are gettingreferred for treatment are people who request it--and by all means, we'll have them go--or who have demonstrated to me they can't stop.So typically, I'll give them a couple of positive drug testswith a few days in jail.And then it's like, how is that stopping on your own working?

    • 19:53

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: They say, well judge, it's not.And at that time, they're willing to go to treatment.We probably help cut through denial,so when they do go to the program,they're going to be much more honest about their drug useand be able to deal with it.And the definition of a substance abuse problemis using the drug, having a negative consequence,and continuing to use the drug.And that's what we show through this program.

    • 20:14

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: I think the PO is thinking residential treatmentis probably in your future.

    • 20:18

      MS. SHIELDS: OK I'll take that.

    • 20:19

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: So what I'm going to do here--and Ms. Mallory us on it.She really works on this stuff.So what I'm going to do is continue thisif it works for your schedule, council,to April 13, 2016, at 8:30, but allow OR at any time.So if they are able to work something out

    • 20:42

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: before that for your client to go to treatment,then she can get picked up at LCCCand taken to the treatment program.

    • 20:47

      MS. SHIELDS: Am I going back to jail?

    • 20:49

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: Yeah.Ms. Shields, I am afraid you're going to get arrested--

    • 20:54

      MS. SHIELDS: I only relapsed once, Judge.

    • 20:56

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: Yeah, I-- I know.You're not following through with whatyou're supposed to, so--

    • 20:59

      MS. SHIELDS: Well, what's that?

    • 21:01

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: You were a no-show at the substance abuseassessment.You didn't do it on your own on the outside.

    • 21:07

      MS. SHIELDS: Substance abuse assessment?I didn't even know about that.

    • 21:11

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: Right.You're homeless--

    • 21:12

      MS. SHIELDS: Yes.

    • 21:13

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: You're at high risk to get into trouble.OK, I think to start a HOPE strategy, first,you need to have a champion.And you need joint leadership between a judge and a probationsupervisor.So Cheryl Inouye and I worked with Dr. Robert DuPont,an addiction psychiatrist in Washington DC,

    • 21:35

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: and he and his team at the Institute for Behaviorand Health, Cheryl and I wrote what's called the StateOf The Art of HOPE probation.It lists what the 16 essential elements for a HOPE probationprogram are.What three recommended elements are.We have flow charts to describe how all of this works.There's a procedures checklist there.

    • 21:57

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: There are open letters from law enforcement to law enforcementaround the country about why they should give HOPE a chance.HOPE is one of those rare programs whereit reduces victimization and crime,it helps offenders and their familyby helping them succeed on probationand avoid going to prison, and it saves taxpayersmillions of dollars.

    • 22:18

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: So what I would encourage people to dois go to's a website that was started by some physicians in Hawaiito support HOPE.You'll be able to find the State Of The Art of HOPEprobation report, you can find a lot of the media stories,you can see interviews with HOPE probationersthemselves about why this program helped them

    • 22:38

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: to really change their lives.And when people turn their lives around on HOPE,I am so impressed.Because when you actually look at the program,it's a pretty lean operation.They don't see their probation officerany more often than they do on probation as usual.They're going to get a sanction if they don't follow the rules,but apart from that, it's the probationer and the probation

    • 22:59

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: officer working together, forming a therapeutic allianceso they can be successful.And the probation officers, as I said,have to figure out a way to mesh the probationsystem with the HOPE strategy.And if they work hard at it, they can do it.And that's why we and we encourage them to give me

    • 23:20

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: a call, to give Cheryl Inouye a call,because we can talk them through it.But now they have a document with the StateOf The Art of HOPE probation to get a really good ideaof what's going to be involved in HOPE probationand what it's going to take for them to get started.Then, it's probably going to take a visitor two visits by us to their state to help them actually

    • 23:40

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: break down what's involved, talk to the partners,and actually figure out a way to makethis work with their system.We started HOPE probation here October 1st of '04.And then over the years, it started to expand.Alaska was the first other state to do it, they call it PACE.Arizona was next right after that,

    • 24:02

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: they call it SAFE for adults, and theyhave a couple of program called JUST for juveniles.Programs based on HOPE are now in 31 states, 29 in probationanother 4 in parole, which is the supervisory periodafter a prison term.We're doing a pilot for the pretrial population, people

    • 24:23

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: that are charged with an offense but they're waiting for trial.There's a randomized control trial studybeing done of that population.And one prison in Ohio is using the HOPE strategyof having swift and certain hearingsand proportional consequences for misbehavior in prisonto try to reduce their over-relianceon restrictive housing/solitary confinement.

    • 24:46

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: Ms. Souza, you know, I typically--for all these violations in HOPE,there's going to be some kind of behind bars sanction.So I'm going to give you a cell block sanction.That's the lowest sanction we give.Sit until three o'clock, get released, go see your PO.That's it today.OK, you're doing really good.Keep up the good work.If I didn't give you-- if you had done some jailtime in the other courthouse, I wouldn't even give you

    • 25:09

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: the cell block sanction.But if I don't give you anything,everybody else is going to say, hey,how come Ms. Souza got this great deal?We want the same thing.OK, you're doing really good.Keep it up.Three o'clock, get released, go see your PO and carry on.Thank you.

    • 25:24

      SPEAKER 1: Your honor, I ask to recall this case.Ms. Souza has a job interview this afternoon.

    • 25:29


    • 25:30

      MS. SOUZA: Yeah, it's car detailing.

    • 25:32

      SPEAKER 1: So we'd ask if she could do the cellblocksanction on Tuesday.

    • 25:35

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: You know, you're being responsible,Ms. Souza.We are going to do that.

    • 25:39

      MS. SOUZA: Thank you.

    • 25:40

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: OK, because you showed up.You want to get the job that will give you a little chance.So just come back here to the courthouse--go check in with your PO now to explain what happened.And then come back here on Tuesday at 8:30,and my staff will work with the Sheriff.You go inside, sit until three, get released.

    • 25:58

      MS. SOUZA: OK, fine.

    • 25:59

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: You don't treat everybodyon probation the same way.It doesn't make any sense and you dilute your efforts.So the people that are the lowest risk,you probably should leave alone.They have pro-social things going on in their life,they're working, they're going to school.Let them do that.And then you can focus your probation effortsand you can focus your HOPE effortson the higher risk clientele.

    • 26:19

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: And that's where you get the most return on your investment.The better bang for your buck, and youcan actually help people succeed, avoid going to prison,and succeed on probation.And prison in Hawaii costs $46,000 a year.Well, Dr. Hawkin came and testified to our statelegislature several years ago.And she said at the time, each person in HOPE

    • 26:40

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: is saving the state between $4,000 and $6,000in prison costs.You know, we're convinced, based on what Dr. Hawkin says,and the fact that people in HOPE are going to prison halfas often as probation as usual at $46,000 a year.To us, that's huge.One of the concerns is that this program can sound easy,

    • 27:02

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: but it's not.Or it can sound simple, but it's not.And we are convinced if you don't have all the movingparts in place, if you don't have all the players on boardand you don't do this the right way,and you don't have probation officers thatare going to be consistent and youdon't have judges who are willing to work with defendantsand give them repeated chances, this is not going to work.

    • 27:25

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: And the concern always is people say, oh, this programdoesn't work.As opposed to we didn't make it work right.And judges, you know, no judge should be forced to do this.Some judges don't want to be involvedin this kind of interaction with the probationers, others do.But if you're going to do this, youneed to have some patience and work with them.That said, some people in HOPE are going to fail.

    • 27:47

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: Some people in HOPE are going to go to prison.And that's as it should be.The good news is we've discovered that people in HOPEare going to prison half as often as thoseon probation as usual.

    • 27:58

      DENNIS TAMURA: Somebody asked me how would I beif I wasn't in HOPE probation.I would probably be the same criminal, same drug user,and getting closer to overdosing than ever, and eventuallycaught and really be put away.

    • 28:12

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: Hello, Ms. Nakamura.

    • 28:14

      MS. NAKAMURA: Hello, Judge.

    • 28:15

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: Boy, you've been waiting for this day, huh?

    • 28:18

      MS. NAKAMURA: Yes.

    • 28:19

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: Yeah, because whatI'm seeing here is you were placed on probation,you know, more than three years ago.We did the warning hearing in March 27, 2013.Zero violations, went to Po'ailani, successful there.You're still seeing Dr. Slewowski.You paid all your court fees, you're a full-time college

    • 28:41

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: student now.It looks like everything's going great.

    • 28:44

      MS. NAKAMURA: I'm also a Hawaii certified peer specialist too,with AMHD.

    • 28:48

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: Very good.So you can give back and do know, Ms. Nakamura, I'm a big believer in consequences,good and bad.But because you've done things the right way,I think it's a great motion as of today, February 26, 2016,I'm going to grant the motion.You're no longer under court supervision.

    • 29:09

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: [APPLAUSE]So I would encourage people to look at whatever systemthey get in and don't just accept the status quo.Think about how can I make this system work better?

    • 29:21

      DENNIS TAMURA: At my stage of lifeis I've got to give back now.Because so much people were so tolerant and understanding,and gave me chances.Other people deserve chances, or maybe theydon't have to do it and take as much time as me.

    • 29:36

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: I was just thinking,let's try this out and see if it makes our system work better.If it does, we'll keep doing it.If it doesn't work, we'll try something new.

    • 29:46

      DENNIS TAMURA: I work with some peoplethat are on HOPE probation.They are in Hina Mauka, which is a drug treatment program.So what I do is I mentor people at the drug treatment program.Because when I was in treatment, Iwished somebody would come and pick me up and take meto a meeting, or take me to a church service.

    • 30:07

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: Apart from maybe a death in the family,having a family member go to prisonis extremely destructive to the family workings.The research is terrible.If kid's parents go to prison, the chanceof them going to prison really is a lot higher.So we're trying to break that cycle.If people can do better in HOPE as parents,

    • 30:29

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: they're going to be better parents.And then maybe help their kids learn to navigatethis world in a better way.

    • 30:35

      DENNIS TAMURA: We do a Camp Agape,which reaches out to those children of incarcerated.Send them to a free camp.That's the way we focus our fund raising on the children.And the children-- because the childrenare so hurt in different ways and abused.And some of them look so nice and innocent,

    • 30:57

      DENNIS TAMURA [continued]: but when we find out what they went through,it's really heartbreaking.

    • 31:01

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: When I first started this program,people told me, HOPE is never going to work.You talk about three days in jail, are you kidding?That's never going to work with people thathave been in prison for years.Or in jail for months, because they cando time standing on their head.And I said, yeah, people can do time standing on their headwhen they have to.But human nature being what it is,

    • 31:21

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: they don't want to do it today.It's the disruptive nature of this.

    • 31:25

      DENNIS TAMURA: Prison I think, didn't teach me as muchas being on probation.Because prison, you just sit your time out.And probation, you do something wrong, you have to adjust.I ended up wasting a lot of years.And even under sole probation, it took me a couple yearsto get it right.

    • 31:46

      DENNIS TAMURA [continued]: But that's-- that's the beauty of it, you know.We have a chance to make things right and start all over.

    • 31:53

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: We had a guywho once was quoted as saying, every night, Ithink about that hotline.If I use tonight and my color comes up tomorrow,he said, I'm going to go to jail tomorrow.He said, it just ruined the high.And we thought that was great.We started handing that article out at the warning hearings.Because we're trying to get people

    • 32:14

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: to think about their choices, to think about their consequences.And to me, it's very satisfying, it's very fulfilling.

    • 32:19

      DENNIS TAMURA: You know, I startedthinking about the consequence.Like if I do something wrong, quickly, I'll be incarcerated,I'll just lose everything.It's not worth it.After a while, it started to sink in that I'm at a stagewhere I cannot get away anymore.

    • 32:36

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM: 11 years into HOPE,we are convinced that one of the chief reasons it worksis the probationers feel they're being treated fairly.They know they're on felony probation,they know there ought to be rules.Well now, the rules are enforced butin a swift, certain, consistent and proportionate way.And to the probationers, that's fair.

    • 32:57

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: In law schools across the country,they talk about the concept of procedural justice.If a person in the system feels they're being treated fairly,they're much more likely to buy into the systemand try to make it work for them.Well, in many ways, many of the defendants in courtdon't think the criminal justice system is fair.Like I said, it's delayed, it's uncertain, it seems arbitrary.

    • 33:17

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: And so we are convinced the HOPE probationersthink HOPE is fair.It is procedural justice in action.And we are convinced their buy-in is whythey're going to make it work.And that's why I think a couple examples of that are I'veonly had about 11 contested hearings with live witnesseswhere a HOPE probationer says no, that's not what happened.

    • 33:39

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: I want to have a hearing on this.I've only had about 30, 31 contested hearingsin the last 11 years, where defendantswant to deny the allegation.The rest of the time, the other thousands and thousandsof times, they admit to it and take responsibility for it.And the other to me, marker of that,is I almost never get requests to change probation officers

    • 33:59

      JUDGE STEVEN S. ALM [continued]: anymore.Because they're being treated consistently.And to the defendants again, that's fair.So it's the fairness of HOPE that leads to their buy-inand leads to their ultimate success.[MUSIC PLAYING]

Bringing HOPE to Hawaii’s Justice System

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Judge Steven S. Alm discusses the Brining HOPE program that is helping probationers make the changes necessary to be productive members of society and avoid recidivism. He describes the process of developing HOPE and the program guidelines, then shows cases that use HOPE and the program's success rates.

SAGE Video In Practice
Bringing HOPE to Hawaii’s Justice System

Judge Steven S. Alm discusses the Brining HOPE program that is helping probationers make the changes necessary to be productive members of society and avoid recidivism. He describes the process of developing HOPE and the program guidelines, then shows cases that use HOPE and the program's success rates.

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