Solano County Public Defender’s Office Launches Effort to Reduce Jail Population

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Uptrust's Innovative Software Text Message Service Will Reduce Failure to Appears (FTAs)

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“Most FTA’s are not because someone is seeking to evade the court process,” said Elena D’Agustino, Interim Public Defender with the Solano County Public Defender. “We are optimistic that this will increase court attendance and improve our attorneys ability to communicate with their clients.”

Uptrust, the social justice text messaging reminder platform, announced that it has launched a partnership with The Solano Public Defender’s Office to reduce the number of Failure to Appear (FTA) incidents, arrest warrants and technical violations in the county. The partnership aims at reducing wasted taxpayer funds, improving efficiency for the county’s attorneys, and decreasing the number of incarcerations for certain violations.

“Most FTA’s are not because someone is seeking to evade the court process,” said Elena D’Agustino, Interim Public Defender with the Solano County Public Defender. “We are optimistic that this will increase court attendance and improve our attorneys ability to communicate with their clients.”

Under the agreement, all public defender clients will receive text reminders for their court dates. Uptrust’s trademarked platform connects public defenders’ offices with defendants via text message to remind them to appear at scheduled legal appointments, most specifically their court hearings.

Local governments spend more than $9 billion on unnecessary pretrial incarceration, and an additional $1 billion issuing and enforcing FTAs. Further, bench warrants have been shown to become expensive and wasteful of both taxpayer and law enforcement’s time and funds.

To date, Uptrust’s messaging system has reduced FTAs by more than 50 percent in some jurisdictions, with 30 percent of users texting back to their attorney, continuing the correspondence. The platform provides a communication and reminder tool similar to many modern dentist or doctor appointment applications. Solano joins Yolo, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Ventura, San Bernardino and Santa Barbara Counties in working with Uptrust to keep people out of jail that don’t need to be there. Uptrust’s partnership with Solano County is supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation, a foundation based in Los Altos, California. As part of its human rights and justice reform investments, the Heising-Simons Foundation is supporting an expansion of Uptrust’s work in California.

“Solano County is like many counties now trying keep jails for those that actually need to be there. As an advancement in technology, our platform can help reduce unnecessary incarceration,” said Jacob Sills, founder of Uptrust. “Ultimately, we hope made a positive impact in Solano County, while also saving taxpayer funds and public defenders’ time.”

ABOUT UPTRUST
Uptrust is a text message-based communication and engagement tool helping defendants arrive at court for their scheduled hearings and other mandatory appointments. By improving the relationship between the criminal justice system and defendants, Uptrust has proved to keep low-income defendants out of jail on bench warrants and technical violations, while also saving attorneys time and reducing the cost to the municipality or county. Uptrust currently is contracted with more than 15 public defender offices around the US, and reaches over 100,000 defendants. Uptrust is a public benefit corporation supported by the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, RFK Human Rights and the Heising-Simons Foundation; it has offices in San Francisco, CA and Northampton, MA. To learn more about Uptrust, visit http://www.Uptrust.co.

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Carson Quinn
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