How texts can help keep people out of jail

mobile social mediaA simple solution could help keep defendants from failing to appear in court: texts. Court date reminders sent via text in pilot projects are proving to be a good way to bring down the number of bench warrants that can end in arrests, the ABA Journal reports. The Pretrial Justice Institute says that pretrial arrests cost taxpayers about $14 billion a year. Software by a company called Uptrust helps public defenders notify and remind defendants about upcoming court appearances. In addition to reducing the number of arrests, the text notification software can help defendants avoid having their bail revoked or forfeited. The software is being used in jurisdictions in four states, with plans to expand to two more. Uptrust’s CEO says most defendants aren’t flight risks; they’re attendance risks, and the software sends them two text reminders about upcoming court appearances.