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Drive decisions with data

How much do you know about missed court appearances in your jurisdiction? Before deciding how to address court appearance issues, start by looking at your data to spot areas that need attention and identify solutions that fit your needs.

Start with metrics to
answer key questions

How many missed appearances occur in your jurisdiction?

Knowing the number of missed appearances will help you understand the scope of the issue. If you flag missed appearances in your court data, this should be a simple count. Looking at data over time—months or years—may help uncover trends.

What percentage of cases have a missed appearance?

This data point provides important context for policymaking. To get the percentage, decide on a relevant time period and then divide the number of missed appearances by the number of cases.

When do missed appearances happen in the life of a case?

Compare the date of each missed appearance to the start and end date of the case. Are missed appearances happening early on? Later? Research shows that the longer it takes for a case to resolve, the more likely it is for there to be a missed appearance. If that’s the case in your jurisdiction, it may prompt you to look at policies to promote efficient case resolution.

What are the underlying charges in cases with a missed appearance?

See if missed appearances are more common for certain types of cases. In North Carolina, 82% of all missed appearances are for traffic misdemeanors. Knowing which cases are most likely to have missed appearances can help you design targeted policies and programs.

What are the demographics of individuals who have missed appearances?

Use data to learn more about the demographics of people who miss court. Are they young people? Minority groups? People living in more rural areas? If certain populations are more likely to miss court, you may want to consider policy options geared to those populations.

How many people are booked into jail for missed appearances?

Missed appearances can drive incarceration, which is costly and has long-lasting consequences for individuals. Use your jail data to learn how many bookings are for missing court. Usually this is listed in the charge description for the booking. Dig further into the data by looking at the underlying offense types. This can help you target policy initiatives.

Explore the Lab’s
Measuring Justice Dashboard

North Carolina stakeholders can access data on missed appearances and other state- and county-level metrics within the Measuring Justice Dashboard. Watch the video to learn how to find key information about court non-appearance.

Ready to look at solutions? Click the buttons below to find tools that work for you.