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First Appearance | August 2023

August 31, 2023

Front-End Justice: Deflection and Diversion

Many of the people who cycle through jails have a serious mental illness, along with drug- or alcohol-related needs that can complicate treatment. Learn what states are doing to increase treatment opportunities and alternatives to jail for defendants. 

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Related Info: The Legislative Primer Series on Front-End Justice

In the News

A Review of State Judicial Powers

The digital magazine Bolts recently released a 50-state review of state judicial powers, procedures and structures. Reviewing the number of justices serving on every state’s top court is not new information, but this report dives deeper, taking a look at which top courts have significant control over criminal procedure, ballot initiatives, pardons and parole and more.

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A National Look at Court Navigation Programs

A new compendium looks at 18 different court navigation programs operating in 22 different states. These programs provide guidance for individuals in contact with the court system and can link people to resources for behavioral health, economic and social service-related needs. 

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New California Report on Pretrial Pilot Program

The Judicial Council of California has released a final report on the state’s Pretrial Pilot Program funded through the Budget Act of 2019. Data suggests an overall positive impact with release rates increasing for both misdemeanors and felonies and rearrest rates decreasing for both misdemeanors and felonies. Rates for failure to appear were greatly improved by shortening case disposition times and implementing court reminder systems. 

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Understanding Failure to Appear in Court

Failure to appear in court is a driver of jail populations across the country. In Lake County, Ill., bench warrants for failing to appear in court were a significant contributor to the local jail population so local officials decided to learn more about why people were missing court. More than a quarter of individuals surveyed reported that attending court would result in risking the loss of basic needs like food or shelter. Learn more about key findings here.

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