Congressman Schiff is a leading advocate for smart, evidence-based criminal justice reforms that reduce spending on corrections and reduce recidivism among those who have spent time in prison. The size and cost of our prison system has exploded over the past three decades. Substantial research has shown that smart reform of the criminal justice system can have the three-fold effect of reducing crime, reducing spending, and reducing recidivism.
Schiff sponsored the Honest Opportunities with Probation Enforcement Iniatitive Act (HOPE). The HOPE program was pioneered by Judge Steven Alm of Hawaii, a former U.S. Attorney, who developed a highly effective system of probation for offenders under his supervision. HOPE provides for swift, certain sanctions for missteps by probationers, but punishments are graduated so that they increase in severity over time. An independent study of HOPE found that it reduced recidivism by 55 percent -- an unprecedented success. Schiff's legislation would expand the HOPE model to additional sites around the country. He will continue to support HOPE through the appropriations process, and plans to reintroduce the legislation in 2011.