The Criminal Justice Reform Act Evaluation: Post-Implementation Changes in Summons Issuance and Outcomes

The Misdemeanor Justice Project is pleased to publish The Criminal Justice Reform Act Evaluation: Post-Implementation Changes in Summons Issuance and Outcomes. The CJRA is a set of legislative and policy changes which create the presumption, absent certain aggravating factors, that some lower-level offenses (i.e., public drinking, public urination, littering, and noise and park offenses) will result in a civil rather than a criminal summons. This report focuses on issuance, disposition, and appearance status six months post-implementation of CJRA.

This report shows that there continues to be a decline in the issuance of summonses for the five CJRA behaviors. When issued, the vast majority (89%) of summonses for these five behaviors were issued as a civil rather than a criminal summons post-implementation.

In the post-implementation period, the most frequent disposition for civil summonses was paid without a hearing (38%) while the most frequent disposition for criminal summonses was dismissed (35%). Due to failure to appear, half of all civil summonses (51%) defaulted and nearly half of all criminal summonses (49%) resulted in the issuance of a warrant in the six months post-CJRA implementation period. There was also a 92% decline in the number of warrants issued for criminal summonses for these five behaviors in the first six and a half months of 2017 relative to the same time period in 2016.

The MJP’s independent evaluation of the Criminal Justice Reform Act is supported by the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.