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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69602 Find in a Library
Title: Failure-to-Appear - What Does It Mean? How Can It Be Measured?
Author(s): M P Kirby
Corporate Author: Pretrial Services Resource Ctr
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 21
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
Pretrial Services Resource Ctr
Washington, DC 20005
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 0734-99-TA-78
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This bulletin presents a framework that can be used to examine failure-to-appear rates in research, evaluation, and management information systems.
Abstract: By definition, failure-to-appear is the missing of a court appearance; the examination of a group of defendants leads to a system measurement called the failure-to-appear (FTA) rate. A review of the field reveals that determining and minimizing missed court appearances is a central goal of institutions and programs working with pretrial defendants. FTA also dramatically reduces the efficiency of the courts. The purpose of bail, as reflected in State and Federal bail statutes, is to ensure the appearance of defendants at trial. FTA is, therefore, one of the key indicators of the performance of jurisdictions and pretrial release agencies in that area. Research related to FTA rates can be helpful in evaluating, managing, and, when necessary, changing the procedures and systems in those jurisdictions and agencies. Yet procedural and definitional problems too often circumvent the potential usefulness and reliability of this research. Consistency is urged as a means to overcoming these problems. This bulletin suggests standard definitions and research procedures. It recommends that (1) the three types of FTA--aggregate, technical, and deliberate--be clearly differentiated, with aggregate rates providing the highest degree of comparability and standardization; (2) a time measurement of one month be set for deliberate FTA; and (3) procedures for calculation be consistent. The defendant-based measurement is the most useful, and the block method, although more complex, is more precise in factoring out the effects of exposure time. Further, any research or agency report should preface its discussion with the particular definition, measurement, and calculation used to arrive at the reported FTA rate. Without consistency and careful definition, the numbers reported for FTA rates will continue to have limited meaning and value. Over 45 footnotes and a chart with FTA references in literature are included.
Index Term(s): Bail jumping; Management Information Systems; Research methods; Testing and measurement
Note: Alternatives - A Series
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