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Improving Criminal Caseflow

NCJ Number
Maureen Solomon
Date Published
October 2008
14 pages
This report presents a four-step process for improving criminal caseflow management within criminal justice agencies.
The report examines ways to improve criminal caseflow management within the criminal justice system in order to effect the timely disposition of criminal cases. The author notes that "the fundamental goal of effective caseflow management is to maximize the possibility of achieving a just result in each case." This report presents a four-step process for achieving this goal. The four steps of the process are: 1) Acquire and Analyze Accurate Information; 2) Develop Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations; 3) Convene a Planning Meeting with All Participants; and 4) Plan Implementation, Reporting, and Monitoring. These four steps are described in detail in the first section of this report. The second section of the report discusses proven elements of effective caseflow management. These elements include Early and Continuous Judicial Supervision of Case Progress, Assurance of Credible Hearing/Trial Dates and Controlling Continuances, Time Standards and Goals, Information System to Support Caseflow Management, and Continuing Consultation with the Bar and Criminal Justice Agencies. The final section of the report discusses specific caseflow management practices such as early availability of the arrest report, realistic charging, early attachment of counsel and prompt client interviews, early exchange of information between prosecution and defense, and negotiated dispositions are based on an early, realistic offer that is unlikely to improve substantially with the passage of time.