In a previous post, I discussed the importance and value of providing outbound court notifications. Today we'll take a look at some best practices for sending effective outbound notifications.
There are multiple posts and sources, including the link below, which cite that reminding people of court dates, when combined with other messages regarding the consequences of FTA (failure to appear), is more effective than just sending date, time and location notifications.
In addition, notifications are being customized with remote appearance instructions (number to call along with PIN, or video link information) or Covid-related instructions, such as "if you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms or have tested positive in the last 10 days, please call the court."
Frequency and Quantity of Messages
Depending on the type of event, consider sending multiple notifications leading up to the event date and time. In the example of an upcoming hearing, an initial notification might be sent two weeks before the hearing date, followed by additional reminders one week, one day and two hours prior to the scheduled time. It can also be beneficial to send notifications after events for FTA or past due payments.
It can be useful to provide notifications in multiple ways, and if sending multiple notifications for a single event, it might be good to combine different types of notifications, such as post cards, emails, automated calls and text messages.
The New York City Criminal Justice Agency has provided a comprehensive publication that shares summary data from multiple studies, and delves deeper into best practices, including data collection, messaging templates, when to send notifications, how to evaluate the success of your program and more.