Background & Approach
Hennepin County is the most populous county in Minnesota and contains the city of Minneapolis. Hennepin County aimed to reduce bench warrants for people who fail to appear in court by reducing transportations barriers. The Court Ride Program was created to provide defendants who lack reliable access to transportation with a free ride to and from their court appearances. After the administration of the program shifted to the Public Defender’s Office, attorneys were able to work directly with their clients regarding their court-related transportation needs while assisting them in scheduling rides to court appearances and other essential appointments. The program was rebranded to “Client Ride” to emphasize the increased services it provides. The program expanded from its original parameters to include transportation to two suburban courthouses, to serve more clients (such as people who lived outside the boundaries of Hennepin County and/or were charged with felony offenses), and to provide transportation assistance beyond the court appearances themselves. Client Ride now provides transportation to many court-related appointments such as attorney meetings, probation meetings, court psychologist appointments, treatment, and meetings with social workers. Client Ride has also proved immensely helpful for emergency situations where clients need last-minute rides to court or back home again.
Hennepin County continues to engage with the Safety and Justice Challenge Network to rethink and redesign its criminal justice system so that it is more fair, just, and equitable for all.