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Citation Release

NCJ Number
D Whitcomb; B P Lewin; M J Levin
Date Published
96 pages
This study examines the citation release procedure as it has developed in the United States and highlights the advantages and disadvantages of specific program procedures, operations, and policy decisions.
Information was drawn from three major sources: a literature review of research on citation release, a telephone survey of 25 law enforcement agencies operating citation release throughout the United States, and site visits to 6 law enforcement agencies. The report is intended to provide planners with a sound basis for assessing the value of a citation release program as it may apply in their jurisdiction as well as to offer assistance to agencies in improving or expanding current citation practices or introducing citation as a new procedure. The report describes the citation release alternative in the context of history and current use, followed by detailed descriptions of the three variations of citation release: field, stationhouse, and jail release. The three variations are analyzed for their advantages and disadvantages, as is the citation release procedure in general. The discussion then turns to an analysis of the legal setting for citation release and preliminary steps for developing basic program policy. Several issues relevant to the implementation of a citation program within a given jurisdiction are considered, followed by an examination of the impact of citation release on court appearances. Guidance is provided for program managers in developing a data base, both through information that should be readily accessible and other information that may require coordination of resources or the introduction of new data collection procedures. The report concludes by offering a general approach to implementation which matches the needs and expectations of the local environment. Tables, exhibits, and footnotes are provided, along with sample forms and a list of sources of technical assistance.