New Jersey the Only State to Receive an A for its Pretrial System in New Pretrial Justice Institute Report

Press Release November 1, 2017

Trenton—This morning, the Pretrial Justice Institute, a national nonprofit focused on pretrial justice, released “The State of Pretrial Justice in America,” a report grading all 50 states’ pretrial justice practices. New Jersey is the only state that was given an A grade.

In response to the release of the report, Roseanne Scotti, New Jersey State Director for the Drug Policy Alliance issued the following statement:

“The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is thrilled that New Jersey was given an A grade for its pretrial justice practices. It was only a few years ago that DPA issued a report that found that almost 40% of individuals being held in New Jersey jails were detained simply because they were poor and could not afford often nominal amounts of bail. The transformation of New Jersey’s pretrial system in such a short time has been truly remarkable. Such expansive change would not have been possible without the commitment, cooperation and collaboration among system stakeholders, particularly the Administrative Office of the Courts, the Office of the Attorney General, and The Public Defender.

“Since implementation of the reform, the pretrial jail population has dropped by 16%. Preliminary public safety data shows that in the same time period, violent crime and overall crime have dropped statewide.

“Because of bail reform, thousands of New Jerseyans are now home with their families and communities instead of being locked behind bars. We are proud of our state for being a leader on this issue.”

The Drug Policy Alliance led the coalition that won passage of New Jersey’s reform in 2014. They sit on the legislatively created Pretrial Services Program Review Commission, which is charged with monitoring and evaluating implementation of the bail reform law and will report annually to the Governor, the Legislature and the Supreme Court.

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

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