Spokane Co. District Court announces call reminders for first appearances

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SPOKANE, Wash. – People scheduled for an out-of-custody first appearance with the Spokane County District Court will now get call reminders. 

The court announced an agreement with Pioneer Human Services for these calls as an effort to reduce failure to appear rates. 

Judge Aimee Maurer said that the out-of-custody docket generally includes non-violent offenses or people whom law enforcement deems are not a significant risk to community safety. 

However, a simple failure to appear causes a warrant to be issued for their arrest, even if they were not initially arrested on the underlying offense. 

This then leads to increased costs and inefficiencies in the system. 

Data show that a reminder phone call, prior to the court date, does correlate to a favorable appearance rate. 

“Getting appointment reminders, via text or call, to reduce no-shows is standard practice in the medical community, and now we have the data to show it also works in the criminal justice system,” Maurer said.

The initiative is already in place.