A new program aimed at reducing missed court dates in Missoula’s Municipal Court is underway.
The Pretrial Assistance to Support Success program (also known as “PASS”) helps people appearing in municipal court on misdemeanor charges. Using best-practice tools, the city and county collaborated on the program with the goal of making it easier for people to get to scheduled court dates.
“I think it’s an amazing thing to recognize that the best thing you can do to get people to come to court is to remind them that they have court,” Missoula Municipal Judge Jacob Coolidge said. “It goes to show a lot of people aren’t willingly missing court. They’re either unable or accidentally miss court.”
Coolidge worked with Missoula’s other municipal judges, Jennifer Streano and Eli Parker, on developing PASS. They also had the help of Kim White, who oversees the Missoula Sheriff’s Community Support Reentry Program.
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PASS operates on a three-tier system that dictates how people move through the program. When a judge sees someone on a warrant or during their initial appearance, they recommend a tier level, Coolidge explained.
“That tier level is how they’re taken into the