Prior to 2017, every criminal defendant in the state had a constitutional right to pre-conviction bail. After an arrest, a judge would set a monetary bail amount in each case. The defendant could post bail with cash or with a bond. If the person couldn’t afford either, he or she would stay in jail until the resolution of their trial. This resulted in people stuck in jail, not because they were a danger to society but because they were poor.
New Jersey’s Bail Reform and Speedy Trial Act changed this system. This act gives significant importance to the risk to the community when a determination on releasing the defendant is made. Additionally, the court takes into account:
- The offense