Conduct Research on Improving Pretrial Court Appearance

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**This solicitation may be a good fit for programs that have existing relationships with academic or technical researchers. If you have current programs to reduce failure to appear rates and support clients in compliance with pretrial monitoring please read the solicitation to learn more.**

**There will be an optional informational call on December 5th, see below for details.**

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation (LJAF) is committed to leveraging the power of data, research, and innovation to improve community safety by reducing crime, increasing police effectiveness, and working to ensure that laws are enforced in a fair and equitable way. 

As an increasing number of jurisdictions across the United States engage in pretrial justice reform, the demand for cost-effective practices that improve court appearance rates is higher than ever. However, much remains unknown about what pretrial release conditions are the most effective in getting defendants to return to court, for whom they are most effective, and how to adequately implement and measure interventions. More methodologically rigorous research on pretrial release conditions would help the nation’s pretrial justice systems more effectively promote public safety and accountability, as well as become more transparent, fair, and just.

LJAF remains committed to helping criminal justice professionals improve their knowledge of “what works” to increase community safety, equity, and fairness in the justice system. Through this Request for Proposals (RFP), LJAF will provide funding to selected researchers to conduct rigorously designed research studies that answer lingering questions about improving court appearance alongside other outcomes for justice-involved individuals.

With guidance from research in the field and national pretrial experts, LJAF compiled a preliminary list of possible research objectives and questions for this solicitation. The list includes:

  1. Defining and assessing failure to appear in court
  2. Defining and improving the accuracy of non-appearance measurements
  3. Assessing the impact of court date notifications/reminders
  4. Assessing the impact of pretrial monitoring/supervision/case management
  5. Assessing the impact of supportive enhancements for appearance
  6. Incentivizing court appearance
  7. Responding to non-appearance
  8. Assessing procedural or structural enhancements for appearance
  9. Understanding the collateral effects of appearance

The list is not exhaustive, and the RFP is not limited to research answering these questions. In their proposals, respondents are encouraged to offer additional research questions that fall inside or outside of the listed research objectives. Respondents can express interest in conducting studies that address more than one objective and/or that answer multiple questions. For all research questions, respondents need to provide an explanation of how the questions can be addressed by specific study designs, whether quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods.

LJAF will answer questions related to this RFP during an optional call on December 5 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Potential respondents are encouraged to prepare for this conference call in advance by reviewing the research objectives and proposal requirements. To join the call, please dial (877) 594-8353 and use the code: 25475242#. Respondents are welcome to submit questions in advance by emailing [email protected] with “COURT APPEARANCE RFP CALL” in the subject line. Following the call, all questions and responses will be posted on LJAF’s website on or about December 12. Respondents are encouraged to check the site and adhere to any changes made to the RFP.

Funding Source: 
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Eligible Grantees: 

Competitive respondents will assemble a diverse team of experts to accomplish the breadth of work required under this RFP. Project teams will identify and establish a primary project director and fiscal agent for all subcontracts.