HOPE Probation recognized for new concept to the addiction crisis

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (ADAMS) – Addiction Policy Forum, a leading national nonprofit, recognized Allen Superior Court’s HOPE (Hoosiers Opportunity Probation with Enforcement) Probation program in its Indiana Innovations to Address Addiction report, spotlighting innovative programs that address addiction and provide support for families and communities.

“The Innovation Now Initiative recognizes revolutionary innovators, such as HOPE Probation, that are transforming the response to addiction in Indiana and offering solutions during a time of crisis,” says Jessica Hulsey Nickel, founder of the Addiction Policy Forum.

The HOPE concept, originated in Hawaii and brought to Indiana in 2011 by Allen Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis, is designed for offenders who pose a low threat to the community, but risk their own wellbeing through substance abuse or repeated probation violations. The program is an alternative to incarceration that includes random drug and alcohol testing. Those who test positive are subject to immediate, brief incarceration.

The HOPE Probation team includes the Prosecutor, Public Defender, Community Corrections, treatment service providers, probation and a faith-based representative. Together they have helped 354 people formally graduate from the HOPE program.

“In Allen County, we were fighting an uphill battle trying to get people help,” said Judge Davis. “We didn’t have enough beds for treatment, but I also knew that many of these people would be better served by treatment instead of incarceration. HOPE Probation gives people a second chance. In this time of crisis, it’s an honor to be recognized by the Addiction Policy Forum for our response to addiction.”

An award, presented to the program Wednesday in Indianapolis, accompanied HOPE Probation’s inclusion in the Indiana Innovations report. Mike McAlexander, Chief Deputy Allen County Prosecutor, accepted the award.

Other members of the HOPE team who attended included:
* Jim Hanson — Allen County Public Defender’s Office

* Mallory Kuter – Allen County Community Corrections

* Kristin Litzenberg – Allen County Adult Probation

* Kali Irving — Allen County Adult Probation

* Dena Pickens – Park Center

* Marvin Vastbinder – Faith Based Mentoring Ministries

Judge Davis was unable to attend due to a busy trial schedule this week.

Indiana Senator Mike Braun congratulated the HOPE team on the award in a letter.

“All over our country, countless families are being affected by the scourge of drug addiction,” Senator Braun wrote. “Every day more and more Americans and Hoosiers love their lives to addiction. I applaud the work that you have done to aid in addiction prevention, treatment and recovery.”