The New Jersey Bail Reform is in full swing. Thousands of people have been let out of jail with no insurance that they will return to court. Is the bail reform really working?
The Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act, aimed to save money for counties by eliminating bail in most criminal cases, and decreasing population in jails. In that respect, it’s working, however, how does a judge determine who can be set free, and who stays in jail? It all boils down to a new public safety assessment score that helps the judge make the call. Or the judge will review the defendant’s previous criminal history record. Considering feedback from law enforcement, the outcome of this new system hasn’t been great for any community.
For example, criminal Christopher Wilson, a convicted sex offender, involved in an alleged solicitation of a 12-year-old-girl on two occasions. His PSA score returned a low mark, because when he was first convicted, he was a minor, which isn’t counted in that system. That led to an uproar in the town where he lives and chief officers called for an injunction against the new law. Wilson was detained shortly after that.
Law enforcement has been struggling with these new rules and regulations. They believe it’s a revolving door disaster, “catch and release” is what they call it. They state, nobody’s afraid to commit crimes anymore, nor are they afraid of being arrested. They believe at the end of the daycriminals who really should be detained are going to be released because of this new system. One police officer says, “We’re chasing around the same people over and over again. They’re being released and going back and offending.” The system is broken, and we, Bankers Surety believe the bail reform was not the way to go.
The cash bail system never held anyone back from being released. All defendants were given the opportunity regardless of the crime committed or the risk posed to the community. At Bankers Surety, we strongly encourage lawmakers to rethink their plan of dismantling the monetary bond system.
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