The Morris Law Firm Blog

July 15, 2011

New Probation Program in Fort Worth

Yesterday we had a lunch meeting of the Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association.  The Hon. Mollee Westfall of the 371st District Court spoke on a new program that she has started in Tarrant County to deal with probation violations.

The program was started in Hawaii in 2004.  It is called Hawaii’s Opportunity Probation with Enforcement (“HOPE”).  The program identifies probationers who are most likely to violate the conditions of their supervision.  It requires frequent and random drug tests.  Any violations are met with swift and certain short terms of incarceration.

Where most counties incarcerate violations for a longer time, the data indicates that long term incarceration disrupts the probationer’s life to the point that upon release, they are likely to fall back into their prior bad habits.  The sure but shorter terms of incarceration, keep the probationer from losing their jobs, housing and structured lives.

The HOPE program has shown that probationers averaged 48% fewer days then the people outside of HOPE program.  With county costs of over $50.00 per day to incarcerate an inmate, the HOPE program could save Tarrant County taxpayers substantial amount of money.  This along with better results on rehabilitating offenders, makes great sense for Tarrant County.

Judge Westfall has begun the program in her court and it appears to be working well.  They are currently writing a Federal Grant proposal to assist in implementing the HOPE program in all the Tarrant County Courts.  If it gets implemented, it will not only be great for our court system, but also the Tarrant County taxpayers.

If you have any questions about you or someone in your families criminal charges, Contact the Morris Law Firm at (214)357-1782 or (817)496- 3447 or via email at info@themorrisfirm.net.

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