New Committee Helps Court Appearance Rate Go Up
One of the first efforts of the Criminal Justice Coordinate Committee has shown an improvement in the amount of people making their criminal court dates.
The CJCC is made up of local Information Officers of the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office call about one week before a defendant is due in court to remind them of their court date and answer any questions they may have.
Lafayette Parish Correctional Center Director Rob Reardon says,
"In this proactive process we have actually reduced the number of phone calls we would have normally received about parking, court rules about cell phones and court house location. We are also minimizing the number of warrants issued creating less bookings within the jail."
The CJCC reports that between April 2014 and June of that year, only 56 percent of defendants showed up for their arraignment hearings. Since starting the calling process in September, CJCC reports the data from September of October of last year shows the rate of all criminal court appearances have gone up.
The rate of appearing went from 48 percent of defendants to 62 percent.
The committee has also worked to make changes to the language of a subpoena so that defendants understand when and where they will need go for court.
Dr. Holly Howat, Executive Director of Lafayette Parish CJCC says,
"All the criminal justice agencies want our system to promote public safety and justice. Providing defendants with clear information and a friendly reminder to come to court helps the entire criminal justice system run smoothly."