Five MO cities test new system to reduce overcrowded jails

Missouri is testing a new pilot texting program in the hopes of reducing overcrowded jails. 

The Missouri Public Defender's Office is testing a program called "Uptrust" in five Missouri cities, including Jefferson City and Columbia.  

If the pilot proves successful, the public defender's office hopes it will be used statewide.

The program sends text messages to defendants, reminding them of upcoming courts dates and other legal appointments.  

Missouri Public Defender's System Director Michael Barrett says the service should increase the number of defendants showing up for court dates; which translates to fewer warrants and pre-trial detainments which cost money for both the state and counties.

The pilot program is made possible by a grant funded by The Missouri Bar Foundation.