Citation in Lieu of Arrest

Key Points

Arrests are disruptive and costly for law enforcement officers, arrestees and society at large.
Citation in lieu of arrest programs can avoid these problems while potentially improving recidivism outcomes and immediately connecting individuals to relevant services.
Any expansion of citation programs, however, must account for potential net-widening effects, the program’s effect on racial and ethnic disparities and any related changes in failure to appear rates
Policymakers should expand citation eligibility and create presumptions in favor of citations, along with rigorous data collection and analysis on their use to help combat any unintended side effects.

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