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New Jersey Bail Reform Needs … Tweaking or Trashing?

Why are those in the criminal justice system so deeply divided on the state’s new approach to bail?

According to some in the criminal justice system, the state’s bail reform is an unqualified success, although it does need some tweaking.

“Overall, I think the program is very successful. We have great coordination from prosecutors to public defenders,” said Judge Glenn Grant, acting administrative director of the New Jersey Administrative Office of the Courts.

For others, it’s a disaster waiting to happen.

“I don’t know what the answer is but there’s got to be a better answer than this because this isn’t an answer at all. It’s coming to critical mass. Somebody’s going to get hurt or killed,” said Little Egg Harbor Police Chief Richard Buzby.

The reformed system — which went into effect January 1, 2017 — mostly does away with monetary bail, relying instead on computer assessments to determine if someone under arrest is a flight risk or is likely to stick around and show up for trial.

The police chiefs here have called for repealing the bail reform law, saying it’s dangerous and one freeholder says it’s nothing but a get out of jail free card and the statewide ballot question in 2014 misled voters who approved it.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.

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