NJ Lawmakers Consider Bail Reform

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
Trenton. June 27, 2013

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Roseanne with the Drug Policy Alliance voices support for bail reform at Senate Law and Public Safety committe meeting

New Jersey lawmakers are discussing some measures to make changes in the bail system.

Proposed legislation would provide alternatives to bail for non-violent offenders.

Roseanne Scotti is the state director of the Drug Policy Alliance. She says nearly 40 percent of the people in jail in New Jersey are there because they can’t afford bail that’s sometimes as low as $500.

 “It makes no sense economically or morally to be warehousing large numbers of people when they are not a risk to the community and when they are not a risk of not showing up for their court date.”  

Scotti says allowing those offenders to be released with community supervision would be more effective.

“So they can have court ordered drug treatment. Some of the conditions the court can have are curfews or living situations, where they have to be, people they have to stay away from.”

Senator Donald Norcross says lawmakers are also discussing a proposed constitutional amendment would deny bail for people charge with violence crimes including murder, kidnapping, robbery, and carjacking.

 “Too often violent offenders with access to large pools of cash post bail shortly after being arraigned and are back on the streets where they can terrorize their victims, coerce witnesses against them, and threaten the general community.”


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