Skip to main content

Low-income suspects to get free rides to court under Minneapolis pilot

It's designed to reduce arrest warrants for failure to appear in court.

A new pilot program designed to reduce "failure to appear" offenses will see low-income suspects given free rides to court in Minneapolis.

Minneapolis City Council on Thursday accepted a $50,000 grant from the MacArthur Foundation to carry out the program through its City Attorney's Office.

Under the pilot, defendants charged with misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor crimes will be able to access free round-trip rides to court so they can make pretrial appearances provided their income is below a certain threshold.

Meanwhile, those charged with more serious crimes can get a free ride to attend meetings with public defenders.

The city says the goal of the program is to reduce the number of arrest warrants issued by the courts for failure to appear, and in turn reducing the use of city jails.

The pilot is projected to provide the funding for around 1,600 free rides until the money runs out.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

The Star Tribune reported in October, when the City Attorney's Office announced it had been offered the grant, that as well as helping defendants avoid additional charges, it will also mean less congested court schedules for city judges.

The City Attorney's Office says it has reduced the number of individuals being held in city jail cells on misdemeanor offenses by 53 percent since 2015.

Other measures helping this include a change in policy so that those accused of lower-level crimes who miss their first court appearance are offered an alternative date, rather than an arrest warrant being issued.

Next Up

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Man dies after being shot during argument in Minneapolis

It's the 70th homicide in Minneapolis this year.

1542-1027

Minneapolis police, city employees clear out Near North encampment

This comes as colder weather moves through the state.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 4.32.46 PM

New T.J. Maxx to open in the Twin Cities this month

Opening day will kick off with extended hours.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 3.04.24 PM

Former Hennepin County commissioner arrested for DWI

The 61-year-old was being held in Hennepin County Jail as of Thursday morning.

Evie Carshare

Electric carshare network showing growth in Twin Cities

Over 25,000 trips have been logged in a six-month span.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 1.11.01 PM

Popular Apple Valley ice arena could be replaced

A concept plan to transform the ice arena is being considered.

21a171abc8c6a3619739a786eed516a563206c38bec4a972944e80fa213b9ab6

Low river levels bring cancellations for St. Paul-New Orleans Viking cruises

The low water also impacted some barge traffic making its way down the river.

10.6 Tempest Weather Thumbnail

Drought tightens grip as Twin Cities reaches 'extreme' level

By this time last year, drought was fading fast in Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 11.23.49 AM

Woman missing since car crash has been found

The 49-year-old is believed to have been driving when the crash happened.

COVID-19 vaccine testing Mall of America

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for the week ending Tuesday, Oct. 4

The 7-day average number of cases has been dropping.

Related

Minneapolis City Hall

Minneapolis to provide lawyers to low-income renters facing eviction

The City Council unanimously approved a "right to counsel" ordinance.

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 1.19.47 PM

Mayor Frey proposes to scrap cash bail for low-level crimes

He's proposing an alternative plan to get defendants to court.

Appeals court upholds Minneapolis' $15 minimum wage

A local company said the city's minimum wage law conflicted with the state minimum wage.

Court: Mpls. can stop landlords from screening out Section 8 tenants

A district court judge had previously thrown out the ordinance.

Nice Ride bikes are back, and will be free on Earth Day

The ride-sharing service will go live this year on Monday.

Court of Appeals rules Lake Calhoun-Bde Maka Ska name change illegal

It says the DNR commissioner didn't have the power to change the name.

Jayme Closs accused Jake Patterson makes first court appearance

Jake Patterson had his first court hearing to answer homicide and kidnapping charges.