People in Colorado who have upcoming court dates may soon be able to opt in to receiving a text message reading, something like: “Mr. Smith, Don’t forget! You have a court date on Mon. February 19 in Liberty Court on 123 Main St. at 2 p.m.”
The text messages would come if Senate Bill 36 passes. The measure aims to reduce the number of people who end up in jail for missing a court date, because the effects of reducing failures to appear ripple beyond just the arrests themselves.
Localities spend time and money arresting, processing and housing people, and bill sponsor Sen. Pete Lee said it’s estimated between 40 to 60 percent of people in county jails are there for failing to appear in court. The bill comes on the heels of an initial recommendation by Colorado’s Bail Blue Ribbon Commission, which has been examining opportunities for reforming pretrial practices around the state.