Kentucky Court of Justice
Circuit Judge David A. Tapp presents at national conference on probation strategies for high-risk defendants

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 30, 2015  
Contact Information:  Leigh Anne Hiatt, APR
Public Information Officer
502-573-2350, x 50033

Judge Tapp

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- Kentucky Circuit Judge David A. Tapp participated in a panel on successful probation programs for high-risk defendants at a national conference in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 16. Judge Tapp serves Lincoln, Pulaski and Rockcastle counties, where he also volunteers as a Drug Court judge. 

Judge Tapp was one of three judges who presented at “The State of the Art of the HOPE Probation Model: A Roundtable Discussion for Criminal Justice Leaders.” He was invited to represent Kentucky by the Arnold Foundation and was joined on the panel by Allen Superior Court Judge Wendy Davis of Indiana and First Circuit Court Judge Steven S. Alm of Hawaii. The conference was hosted by Judge Alm, who founded the HOPE Probation program, and Robert L. DuPont, M.D., president of the Institute For Behavior and Health and the first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. 

The judges were joined at the roundtable by officials from the NIDA, the Office of the Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Justice, The Council of State Governments, the Virginia Criminal Sentencing Commission, the National Institute of Justice, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Center for Effective Justice at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, the American Conservative Union Foundation Center for Criminal Justice Reform, the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. 

Judge Tapp said that Kentucky has finished its first year of implementing the SMART – Supervision, Monitoring, Accountability, Responsibility, Treatment – Program, which combines drug testing with a high level of supervision and the imposition of immediate and graduated sanctions for high-risk probationers. It is currently being used as a pilot program in seven Kentucky counties.

“SMART is Kentucky’s successful version of Hawaii’s HOPE Probation program,” Judge Tapp said. “The discussion focused on the continuing efforts to expand the SMART program in Kentucky, the challenges we face with implementation and the importance of fidelity to a model that provides such a dramatic improvement in probation outcomes.”
The HOPE Probation program currently exists in 29 states and is being developed in several others. He said the majority of the panel discussion focused on adopting a national strategy for effective probation supervision, and the advantages that the HOPE and SMART programs offer over traditional probation supervision.

Judge Tapp has testified on this subject before Kentucky’s Interim Joint Committee on Judiciary. He said he is hopeful that Kentucky will seek to expand the SMART program beyond the current pilot sites. Morehead State University conducted an evaluation of the first year of the SMART program in Kentucky and found significantly better results for probationers on the SMART program as opposed to those being supervised under the regular probationary program.

Circuit Court
Circuit Court is the court of general jurisdiction that hears civil matters involving more than $5,000, capital offenses and felonies, divorces, adoptions, termination of parental rights, land dispute title cases and contested probate cases.
Administrative Office of the Courts
The AOC is the operations arm for the state court system and supports the activities of 3,300 court system employees and 403 elected justices, judges and circuit court clerks. As the fiscal agent for the state court system, the AOC also executes the Judicial Branch budget.