Minnesota State Court Administrator's Office
The Minnesota State Court Administrator’s Office is working with Minnesota Management and Budget and J-PAL North America to test the impact of different text message reminders on failures to appear (FTAs) in court among individuals with court dates for criminal hearings or eviction hearings. FTAs are costly for both individuals and the court system; When defendants fail to appear, law enforcement must locate, arrest, transport, and jail the individual, all at taxpayer expense. Previous research has found that text message reminders can reduce failures to appear for arraignment for criminal defendants in New York City, with the size of the reduction depending on the content of the messages. Minnesota’s largest county piloted a text reminder program in 2017 and, after promising results, the Minnesota Judicial Branch decided to make these e-reminders available statewide. Court users statewide will be able to opt-in to receive text and/or email reminders of their upcoming court appearances. This evaluation will measure the impact of the different text message content and timing on appearances for scheduled hearings, warrants issued, and eviction outcomes.