Appearance Rates

Appearance Rate Report Card

How good is your court at making sure people show up? Have you ever wondered whether you’re doing everything possible to help people navigate barriers and obstacles to appearing in court? Well, wonder no more! Check out NCSC’s new Appearance Rate Report Card (ARRC). You’ll get not only a customized score of your court’s efforts, but also tips and tricks to improve appearance rates and a focused version of NCSC’s resource guide on improving appearance rates. The ARRC is free and easy to use, so go ahead and start today!

Appearance Rate Judicial Curriculum

There are many reasons why people do not make it to their court hearings. The good news? The NCSC team has developed an interactive training module to learn about the barriers court users face when appearing in court and what you can do about it. Take the interactive training module on appearance rates.

NCSC Appearance Rate Resources

NCSC has comprehensive and helpful guidance on a range of issues that affect whether people show up for court. For example:

Court Appearance Rate Report
Read the report on NCSC's findings from technical assistances efforts across six courts. The report team identifies several policy categories that could be useful across all jurisdictions, including improving communications, removing barriers, responding effectively, and building trust.
Download PDF File (1.4 MB)
eReminders Toolkit
This toolkit is for court staff who want to launch a text or email reminder system or learn more about how to improve their current system. It offers an overview of the different types of systems available and things to keep in mind when designing or selecting a system that best meets your court’s needs.
Download PDF File (700.9 KB)
Alternative Court Hours Toolkit
This report examines court's providing alternative hours of service and recommends various approaches to expanding hours.
Download PDF File (6.7 MB)
Video Remote Interpretation Solutions and Resources
Includes a list of resources for Zoom and Cisco Webex interpretation services, and a link to national interpreter database.
Download PDF File (444.2 KB)
Remote and Virtual Hearings Technology Considerations
This resource introduces the framework for courtroom technology as well as case studies of courts that support both remote and hybrid hearings.
Download PDF File (402.7 KB)
Remote Hearings and Access to Justice
This resource guides courts with advice for remote hearings and access to justice including scheduling, advance notice, plain language, and more.
Download PDF File (826.6 KB)
Guiding principles for post-pandemic court technology
This resource can help to guide courts with adopting principles and best practices as they continue to embrace technology.
Download PDF File (218.2 KB)
Digital Divide Considerations
This document offers some initial ideas of ways courts can provide solutions to the digital divide, either on their own or in partnership with other civic, government or philanthropic partners.
Download PDF File (1.0 MB)

Webinars Series

In 2022, NCSC released series of webinars exploring ways to improve court appearances, including:

Past webinars:

NCSC's expert on appearance rates, Mike Tartaglia, appeared on an episode of Tiny Chats to share his recipe for improving court appearance rates. Check it out here.


NCSC's work on racial justice

Visit NCSC's Virtual Remote Interpretation resource center.

Racial justice organizational assessment tool for courts (NCSC)

Database of statutory responses to failure to appear (National Conference of State Legislatures)

CCJ/COSCA Rapid Response Team Pandemic Resources for Courts

CCJ-COSCA Resolution in Support of Efforts to Improve Appearance Rates in Criminal and Traffic Courts (passed July 2022)

Court Appearance Toolbox (UNC Criminal Justice Innovation Lab) (forthcoming)

National Guide to Improving Court Appearances (ideas42, 2023)

Court Date Notifications: A Summary of the Research and Best Practices for Building Effective Reminder Systems (NYC Criminal Justice Agency, 2021)

Findings and Policy Solutions from New Hanover, Orange, and Robeson Counties (North Carolina Court Appearance Project, 2022)

Using Behavioral Science to Improve Criminal Justice Outcomes: Preventing Failures to Appear in Court (ideas42 & Crime Lab), and Behavioral Nudges Reduce Failure to Appear for Court  (2020)

Using Reminders to Reduce Failure to Appear in Court (Minnesota Judicial Branch, 2019)

Removing barriers to pretrial appearances (Urban Institute, 2020)

Tips for good texts (Stanford Legal Design Lab)

Research on the Effectiveness of Pretrial Support and Supervision Services: A Guide for Pretrial Services Programs (UNC School of Government Criminal Justice Innovation Lab, 2021)

A Framework for Pretrial Justice: Essential Elements of an Effective Pretrial System and Agency (National Institute of Corrections)

Creating an Effective Pretrial Program (Community Resources for Justice – Crime & Justice Institute)

Pretrial Justice: How to Maximize Public Safety, Court Appearance, and Release (videos) (National Institute of Corrections)

Measuring What Matters: Outcome and Performance Measures for the Pretrial Services Field (National Institute of Corrections)

Procedural Justice Bench Card (American Judges’ Ass’n, CCI, NCSC, & Nat’l Judicial College)The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention Revisited (2022) and The Hidden Costs of Pretrial Detention (Arnold Ventures, 2013)

Integrating criminal justice and behavioral health data (CSG Justice Center)

Appearance Rate Technical Assistance, 2022 - 2023

With support from the Pew Charitable Trusts, NCSC worked with courts in six jurisdictions around the country to launch initiatives to improve appearance rates. Participating courts identified and reduced obstacles to appearing in court, and committed to providing more supportive structures to address missed appearances. In April 2023, NCSC and Pew hosted a Summit for teams from each participating court. See news from the Summit.

Following the Summit NCSC and Pew worked with each participating court to develop and implement the initiatives they committed to. In all, the six courts committed to 25 different reforms and achieved the vast majority of those commitments within just seven months. You can read more about the entire effort and what the courts accomplished in the final report [link forthcoming].

The following courts participated in the technical assistance project:

  • Richmond County State Court, Georgia
  • Buckeye Municipal Court, Buckeye, Arizona
  • Tenth Judicial Circuit District Court, Jefferson County, Alabama
  • The 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Missouri—Kansas City Municipal Division
  • La Crosse County Circuit Court, La Crosse County, Wisconsin
  • Lincoln County District Court, Lincoln County, Washington

Learn more and connect!

NCSC is working, along with the Pew Public Safety Performance Project, to develop more content and resources on appearance rates. We will update this information regularly, so check back often. For more information on NCSC's work to improve appearance rates and reduce the harmful consequences of a missed appearance, contact us.