New Jersey Assembly Judiciary Committee Set to Vote on Bills to Roll Back New Jersey’s Historic Bail Reform Law

Press Release November 9, 2016
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<p>Tony Newman 646-335-5384<br />
Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243</p>

Trenton, NJ—On Monday, November 14, the Assembly Judiciary Committee will consider Assembly Bills 3507 (Sponsors: Assemblypersons McKeon (D-Essex, Morris), Burzichelli (D-Salem, Cumberland, Gloucester), Caputo (D-Essex), Johnson (D-Bergen), Oliver (D-Essex, Passaic) and 4098 (Sponsors: Assemblypersons Oliver (D-Essex, Passaic), Caputo (D-Essex) which would roll back New Jersey’s historic bail reform law that was enacted in 2014. The hearing will convene at 10:00 am in Committee Room 12, on the 4th floor of the State House Annex.

In 2014, the Legislature approved, and the Governor signed, legislation that transformed New Jersey’s pretrial system by basing pretrial release decisions on risk rather than resources.  Instead of giving individuals a set money bail amount, the new law provides for a range of nonfinancial release decisions for low-risk individuals and will allow truly dangerous individuals to be detained pending trial with speedy trial protections.  Voters overwhelmingly approved this new fairer and more effective decision in a ballot referendum in November 2014.

Under the proposed legislation, money bail would again become the main mechanism for pretrial release.  Outraged advocates have vowed to fight the legislation saying that the proposed legislation would return New Jersey to an unfair, outdated and discriminatory system.   

“New Jersey became a national model when it reformed its bail system,” says Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “Since New Jersey passed its bail reform law, numerous other states and the federal government have launched initiatives to do away with money bail.”

A 2013 jail population analysis conducted by Luminosity in partnership with the Drug Policy Alliance found that:

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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