Court delays in processing people’s cases magnify the harms and risks of incarceration for the thousands of people held in jail before trial each year. They also impose added trauma on victims of crime. Despite the guarantee of a speedy trial, in 2019, New York City only met the state’s standard for a six-month resolution in about a third of felony cases.
The city’s courts have long struggled in this area. But a recent pilot project we implemented in Brooklyn significantly reduced felony case delay, generating an 11 percentage-point increase in the number of cases disposed within the six-month standard.
Case processing delays drive up jail populations. Our Brooklyn project offers important lessons for New York's efforts to durably reduce its reliance on incarceration.
Undertaken in collaboration with the Office of Court Administration, the project sought to further the goals of Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s Excellence Initiative, launched to reduce unnecessary delays in courts statewide.