Peter Korn has a well-crafted story in the Portland Tribune about the travails of probation officers and the promise of quick and predictable sanctions. He quotes unnamed “experts” as claiming that Hawaii’s HOPE program is “expensive” and doubting that it can be taken to scale. In fact, the program saves five incarceration dollars for every supervision dollar it spends, and in Honolulu it’s already operating at scale.
Korn reports that Multnomah County is paying $8-$15 per day for electronic position monitoring. That’s way more expensive than it needs to be; using “passive” monitoring, where if the offender is out of position the fact is automatically reported to his probation officer the next day, a GPS anklet shouldn’t cost more than $4/day.