Understanding the Reasons People Do Not Appear in Court

The Purpose of the Study

Similar to many places across the country, Lake County court releases people from jail after they are arrested to live in their community and wait for their court date. To help people remember to come to court on time, Lake County sends text message reminders to people who enroll in their text message program. Of those who enrolled in the text message program, 97% returned to court. Although this is positive, not that many people enrolled in the program and many of the people who did not enroll in the program did not show up to their court date. The courts do not understand why people “fail to appear” (as the courts call it) at court as scheduled. Importantly, not appearing to court as schedule can impact plea agreements, conviction status, sentencing, and future detention if arrested, again.

The Lake County Equity Team, the Burns Institute and Justice System Partners (JSP), are working together to understand the barriers people face to return to court. The goal is to learn more about why people struggle to get to court and help build programs and services that might help people appear as scheduled.

The Study

JSP is hosting 30-to-45 minute interviews with individuals who have previous court experience. Those who agree to take part in the research study can receive a $50 Visa gift card by mail or email. JSP is conducting interviews from October 2021 to December 2021. Participation in the research study and answers to questions are confidential and not shared with anyone outside of the JSP research team.

Who is invited to participate?

If you have previous court experience and had trouble getting to court as scheduled, you are invited to participate. You must be over the age of 18, speak English or Spanish, and have the ability to receive a phone call.

Who can’t participate?

If you currently have an open case or are actively on probation, you cannot participate. JSP is required to review if potential participants have open and active cases. However! If your case closes or probation ends prior to December 31, 2021, you are encouraged to participate at the end of your case/probation term.


To verify your eligibility and participate, click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ReasonsPeopleDoNotAppearInCourt


P.O. Box 970, South Easton, MA 02375-0970

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