Bail reform was passed in 2014 as a public safety measure. Under our old system, individuals with resources, regardless of their risk to public safety, were able to buy their way out of jail and await trial in the community without any type of supervision.

In our new system, judges utilize an evidence-based risk assessment tool to help them make a decision about release. Judges can detain people deemed high-risk without a setting bail, thereby removing the possibility that a dangerous person could buy their way out of jail. The new system also provides for conditions and supervision of those individuals released pretrial.

Those who criticize the reform must be truthful about the unreliable and unsafe money bail system New Jersey operated under prior to January 1, 2017. Such a system jeopardized public safety by permitting dangerous individuals to pay their way out of jail and await trial in the community without any type of supervision.

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While some may disagree with a judge’s decision in a particular case, the new system will improve public safety in the state.

Alexandra Staropoli

Policy Manager, New Jersey

Drug Policy Alliance