To the editor,

Re: Councilwoman Faustini Calls on State Officials to Fix Bail Reform Measures, 6/7/17

Councilwoman Faustini’s desire to repeal key elements of New Jersey’s historic bail reform begs the question if she felt our old, unsafe, cash bail system was advantageous for public safety?

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Until January, decisions about pretrial release were based on an individual’s access to financial resources rather than their potential risk of committing a serious crime before trial.

Because all defendants were given a money bail, individuals who could afford to pay were able to immediately buy their freedom, even when they posed a risk to public safety before trial. That led to far too many cases of individuals out on cash bail who committed serious violent offenses.

The old system far from guaranteed safety, but the statewide bail reform corrected flaws in the system that jeopardized public safety. Now decisions about who stays in jail before trial are based on objective risk assessments and judges have the ability to order preventive detention for high-risk defendants.

 Bail reform was fundamentally a victory for public safety in New Jersey.

Alexandra Staropoli

Policy Manager, New Jersey

Drug Policy Alliance