Why is this measure important?
Failure To Appear (FTA) rate relates to defendants failing to appear at
court. The very low rate of FTA's for people on Pre-Trial supervision in
Montgomery County is a positive outcome of the local supervision
system. The FTA rate for individuals who have posted a bond to ensure
their appearance at court has historically been higher. Reporting for
court as scheduled is critical to keeping the court docket moving as
failure to appear cases disrupt the legal process impacting the Courts,
Police, Corrections, State Attorney's Office and others connected to the
Factors contributing to current performance
- Defendants are required to maintain contact with their caseworkers
on a weekly basis either in person or by telephone. At each and every
contact, caseworkers remind defendants of their pending court dates.
are provided a written record of their pending court dates and are
required to bring it to each meeting and court dates are updated on this
- Defendants are called by Pre-Trial
staff 24-48 hours in advance of their court dates to remind them of the
time and location of their court dates.
factors that more generally support high appearance rates include
testing and evaluation of drugs, alcohol, and mental health with
referrals to treatment. By connecting the defendants with these services
they are more likely to remember and make better choices/decisions
concerning court appearance.
Factors restricting performance improvement
- Despite best efforts there will always be some defendants that are
unable to be on time for their scheduled court appearances. The reasons
are varied and often involve those who are indigent and/or have severe
mental health and/or substance use disorder issues.
- Defendants who fail to maintain contact cannot be reminded of their court dates.
Performance improvement plan
- Provide effective monitoring or the defendant population utilizing best industry practices.
- Embrace new technology to inform defendants of court dates such as automatic reminders via text and use of kiosk reporting systems.
- Implement assessment changes as a result of the 2018 validation study.