Bail

  • What the New Jersey Report Shows Us (4/18/2019)

    Six years ago, a major catalyst for pretrial reform in New Jersey came in the form of a report showing that nearly 40 percent of people in jail in New Jersey were there because they could not afford bail. Several years – and a long road – later, New Jersey passed laws to provide sweeping changes to their pretrial justice policies and practices. Since January 1, 2017, when new laws went into effect, we have been watching for the outcomes of these changes, not just in terms of reducing arrests (bookings) and replacing cash bail, but in restricting detention and raising equity. We also needed to see rates of court appearance and public safety – the two purposes of the bail decision. We wanted data from the courts. And now, we have it.

    As a result of expanded use of citations-summons, the jail population has declined significantly. Since 2015, when preparation for pretrial reforms began, the pretrial jail population has fallen by nearly 44 percent. Money bonds have been functionally eliminated and de-facto detention to due an inability to pay has nearly disappeared. The few held for detention hearings are afforded full due process and then some are released with conditions of supervision. In 2018, the rate of pretrial detention was roughly 6 percent, meaning 94 percent of people were able to participate in their defense from home, with family, at their jobs, or in school, where they were best equipped to do so. The appearance rate in 2017, the most recent year cited in the report, was nearly 90 percent, only a slight decrease from before the reform. (more…)


09/19/2018

Black County Officials Call for Pretrial Reform

In March 2018, the National Organization of Black County Officials (NOBCO) ratified a resolution on pretrial reform, calling on county officials to support the use of […]
08/08/2018

Resetting the Default: Detention Should be Hard to Get

Today, the system’s ability to invoke unnecessary pretrial detention is akin to the easy, quick – often mindless – process of ordering a pizza for delivery […]
07/24/2018

Pretrial Freedom and the Presumption of Innocence

We all have heard of the Boston Tea Party and the phrase, “No taxation without representation.”  But the the rebellion was about more than a perceived […]
07/12/2018

Voters Ready to Change the Default of Pretrial Detention

We don’t like stupid rules at PJI. That’s probably one reason why Inc. magazine recognized us as one of the Best Workplaces of 2018. So when […]
06/26/2018

Small Towns and the Sixth Amendment

Providing adequate counsel is a key challenge to addressing high rates of pretrial detention in rural areas, according to Right on Crime’s recent report, Open Roads […]
06/21/2018

Pride in Pretrial?

A major milestone in LGBTQIA1 rights, celebrated officially each June, arguably has its roots in pretrial.  In the 1960s, police harassment of LGBTQIA people was common; there […]
06/21/2018

Resisting Jails in Rural America

For too long, rural jails have been an overlooked part of American mass incarceration. Yet, rural jails have the nation’s highest pretrial incarceration rates—increasing by more […]
05/02/2018

Million Dollar Bonds

People are finally getting it. When someone charged with a serious offense has a high bond set by the court, the implication is that if the […]
05/02/2018

Step Up to Remove People with Mental Illnesses from Jails

56-year-old veteran Jerome Murdough was arrested for sleeping in the stairwell of a Harlem public housing project on a cold winter night. Murdough, who had been […]