The current New Jersey state bail system is ineffective, costly and dangerous. At the moment, monetary bail amounts for individuals arrested in New Jersey are based on a state-wide schedule that categorically assigns values to different crimes. This schedule discourages courts from making individualized determinations of whether monetary bail is even necessary to protect public safety and ensure the appearance of a defendant at trial.
New Jersey should follow the federal model for pretrial release by moving away from a monetary bail system. To do this, we must pass a law that (1) encourages non-monetary release options; (2) requires arrestees to undergo a risk assessment before their initial bail hearing in order for the court to make individualized determinations of what, or if, bail is appropriate; (3) establishes a comprehensive pretrial services agency within each county that will monitor and counsel those awaiting trial; and (4) eliminates private financial incentives to set high bail amounts by prohibiting the operation of commercial bail bonding companies in the state.
Such legislation will prioritize public safety while encouraging fiscal responsibility. You can support to this type of legislation, by using our action center below to contact your representatives to gain support for the New Jersey Bail Reform Act today.
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