Removing Barriers To Pretrial Appearance

May 13, 2021
Removing Barriers To Pretrial Appearance
Author: Evelyn F. McCoy, Azhar Gulaid, Nkechi Erondu, and Janeen Buck Willison at The Urban Institute
Published: May, 13 2021
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This case study, part of a series highlighting work supported by the Safety and Justice Challenge Innovation Fund, examines the experiences of Tulsa County, Oklahoma, and Hennepin County, Minnesota, which implemented strategies to reduce rates of failure to appear (FTA) in court and to reduce their respective jails’ pretrial populations. The Tulsa County Public Defender’s Office partnered with Uptrust, a California-based technology firm that builds software to help people navigate and successfully exit the criminal justice system, to implement a two-way text messaging app that reminds clients of upcoming court dates and reduces barriers to court appearance by connecting clients to an embedded social services case manager who helps them access services and assistance with basic needs such as transportation. The Minneapolis City Attorney’s Office, the Hennepin County Public Defender’s Office, and the Hennepin County Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee (CJCC) partnered with Hitch Health, a local health care technology company that connects patients with ride services to medical appointments, to implement Court Ride, which provides free rides to court and court-related appointments to defendants who lack reliable access to transportation.