New Jersey criminal system preparing for bail reform in 2017

A major overhaul to New Jersey's bail system is about to take effect in the new year.



New Jersey voters approved an amendment in 2014 that eliminated a criminal defendant's state constitutional right to bail. The change takes effect in January along with other legislation replacing monetary bail set by a judge.



Under the new system, courts will rate defendants to determine security risks.



Supporters say low-risk defendants and the poor are unfairly burdened and jails overcrowded under the current practice.



Critics worry mostly about the cost of the changes to local governments.



The issue was in headlines again this week after Senate President Steve Sweeney unveiled new legislation calling for the addition of 20 more judges to accommodate the reforms.


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