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Reducing Lockup Crowding with Expedited Initial Processing of Minor Offenders

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 35 Issue: 3 Dated: May/June 2007 Pages: 273-281
Terry L. Baumer
Date Published
May 2007
9 pages
This article reports on a midsize, midwestern county's efforts to control its jail and lockup population by reducing the detention period of persons arrested on misdemeanor or minor nonviolent felony charges.
Findings show that the revised procedures used at the new processing center produced significant reduction in the length of time required to screen new cases for prosecution and the time to court for both new and warrant arrests for misdemeanors and minor felonies. The average time to the initial charging decision was reduced from 27 hours to less than 4 hours. For individuals with a new arrest, the time between initial booking and initial hearing was reduced from an average of 70 hours to slightly over 4 hours. The time to court for individuals arrested on warrants was reduced from 100 hours to just over 5 hours. Under the new procedures, a charging decision was made, the initial hearing conducted, and the person released in less than 10 hours on average. Arrestee processing, case screening, and court hearings were conducted around-the-clock in a new facility separate from existing facilities. "Before" and "after" samples of arrestees were compared on prosecutorial screening time, time to court, and time in custody. 8 tables and 23 references