In January 2016, the Circuit Court of Cook County and Cook County criminal justice agencies discussed options to develop initiatives that would be designed to aid in the reduction of the Cook County jail’s Average Daily Population (ADP) of Cook County detention facilities.
One of the proposed reduction strategies recommended the development of ways in which to advise defendants, including those released on bail from any local police district, of their impending court date. It was concluded that a court reminder system would be effective in meeting this goal.
Providing assistance to defendants concerning upcoming court dates is designed to:
- Reduce the number of Failures to Appear (FTA) before a judge and thereby reduce the numbers of bench warrants (for violations of bail bond) issued.
- Reduce the Cook County jail’s ADP and the related financial and social costs of incarceration.
The Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County will be expected to launch a court reminder system in November 2017. Persons who have been arrested and processed by any Cook County law enforcement agency will be enrolled in the reminder system and receive automated phone calls of their upcoming court event (i.e., court date, time, and location). The reminders will be delivered via phone and text message at 14 days, 7 days, and 2 days before the court date. Text message reminders will be added in early 2018.
This system includes the collaboration and exchange of relevant court event data between various law enforcement and court related operations, including the Chicago Police Department, Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, Public Defender’s Office, Chief Judge’s Office, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and the Cook County Bureau of Technology.