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Reducing Crime by Identifying and Addressing Pretrial Needs: A Voluntary, Procedural Justice-Informed Intervention

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $975,000)

The proposed intervention seeks to reduce crime through identifying and addressing the unmet needs of individuals released pretrial via voluntary supportive referrals to community service providers. Individuals who are arrested often have a host of unmet needs, including, but not limited to, under or unemployment, food insecurity, housing instability, and mental health challenges. Many pretrial interventions seek to address risk and responsivity factors, yet overlook critical needs traditionally viewed as non-criminogenic. However, research suggests there are pretrial needs associated with pretrial outcomes (i.e., failure-to-appear or re-arrest); this emerging evidence undergirds the intervention. Furthermore, this intervention will leverage evidence on the efficacy of peer services and in-person court interactions to meet client needs and improve perceptions of procedural justice and institutional trust.

Individuals over the age of 22, summarily arrested in NYC, whose cases were released on their own recognizance and continued at arraignment, that CJA has a phone number for and that did not receive a perfect score on CJA’s pretrial release assessment will be randomly placed in either a control group to receive treatment as usual (i.e., standard court date notifications) or in one of the two intervention groups to receive either a text message or a text and in-person post-arraignment conversation with a trained Outreach staff member with lived experience in the criminal legal system. The text message will include a link for a CJA resource guide and an opportunity for text recipients to text back for additional personalized help. The in-person intervention will happen directly post-arraignment, where the Outreach staff member will conduct a standardized mini-needs assessment and provide appropriate referrals and contact information for future follow-up.

The efficacy of the intervention will be tested by the identified research partner, Data Collaborative for Justice (DCJ), through a randomized control trial and findings will be disseminated to the field. This simple yet meaningful intervention has profound implications for the pretrial field at large and the potential for replicability and sustainability in jurisdictions outside New York City.

Date Created: September 28, 2022