Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tarrant County shows improved case tracking can reduce jail overcrowding

Here's another installment in Grits' ongoing compilation of ideas for reducing county jail overcrowding being tried by Texas counties around the state.

In Tarrant County, a new record keeping system designed to process felony cases faster and reduce jail overcrowding won an award from the National Association of Counties last week:
Efficiently moving cases through the courts is a major cost factor for county government, especially as it impacts jail population. Tarrant County created the Differentiated Case Management System by combining modern case management techniques with sophisticated data processing systems. The results have been to greatly increase the flow of felony cases resulting in lowered jail population, and lowered costs. Tarrant County is the only large county in Texas to regularly dispose of more felony cases than are filed and the only one not currently experiencing jail crowding.
For those interested, here's a document from Tarrant County explaining the program in more detail, basically categorizing cases into three types: Expedited, Basic, and Complex. State jail and third degree felonies on the "expedited" list are moved through the system more rapidly.


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