New Jersery Bail Reform

New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie recently signed legislation that will offer alternatives to the current bail system for non-violent offenders. The intent of the entire package of legislation is to overhaul the New Jersey bail system.

Voters will make the decision in November. They have the option to approve a constitutional amendment to eliminate the state’s right to bail for all offenders. The intent is to keep the most violent criminals in jail with no option for bail.

Those in favor of the bill claim that 40 percent of those currently incarcerated are there simply because they do not have money to pay for bail.

Christie said, “Under these reforms, our justice system will be both more effective in protecting our communities from dangerous, violent repeat offenders and fairer to those nonviolent offenders who do not deserve to sit in what has become the equivalent of debtors’ prison because they can’t afford to post the bail.”

The bond companies do not necessarily agree with the reform. Michelle Esquenazi from Empire Bail Bonds in New York says that bail is meant to make sure that a defendant shows up for trial. If there is not threat of monetary loss, she believes the system will fail. She also argues that the changes are unconstitutional. Christie points out that the federal government allows for violent offenders to be held without bail, while the New Jersey government does not.





Posted on August 21, 2014 at 10:00 AM