The Swift, Certain, and Fair (SCF) approach shares the National Network’s guiding principles in its approach to community supervision. SCF reduces reoffending, arrest, and incarceration by replacing unpredictable and high-level sanctions for probation violations with swift, certain, but small penalties. Research has shown that the transparent, consistent, and immediate response is a vital tool in shaping behavior and improving the perception that sanctions are fair. Using community supervision is much more cost effective than a prison sentence or jail term, allowing offenders to work, care for their families, and pay taxes. After a successful pilot in Hawaii known as Hawaii HOPE, similar probation programs are now operating in numerous other states across the U.S., and the U.K. is starting to adapt SCF principles to sobriety pilots in London and Glasgow.
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The Washington Intensive Supervision Program (WISP) started in February 2011 as a pilot project in Seattle to test whether the principles of SCF community supervision could succeed for higher risk parolees as well as probationers. With the aid of individuals involved in the original HOPE program, and a remarkable level of coordination and motivation among WISP staff, WISP quickly achieved a high degree of fidelity to the original HOPE model.
WISP clients differed significantly from those previously successfully supervised by SCF programs. As one of the first SCF programs to supervise parolees, WISP generally supervised individuals with longer and more serious criminal histories than previous programs. WISP clients also had a wider variety of drug abuse problems, with heroin in particular being a notable challenge.
The pilot was such a success that in April 2012, the state legislature overwhelming passed a law rolling out the program statewide. In rapid fashion, approximately 17,000 offenders supervised out of 113 field offices were oriented into WISP.