New Jersey bail reform bill has uncertain future in state Senate

There is a growing call to change New Jersey’s bail reform law to make it easier to keep suspected gun offenders in jail before their trials.

News 12 Staff

Mar 29, 2022, 11:34 PM

Updated 848 days ago

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There is a growing call to change New Jersey’s bail reform law to make it easier to keep suspected gun offenders in jail before their trials. A bill did pass in the state Assembly last week, but it faces an uncertain future in the state Senate.
This comes amid an increase of gun violence in New Jersey.
“I keep my child to myself. I don’t let her play with nobody back here because it’s too much,” says Trenton resident Sherrie Newton.
Newton says she is planning on leaving Trenton. She says she keeps a watchful eye on her 1-year-old daughter Isabella because of the violence in her neighborhood.
“In the world we live in today, you got to come outside and make sure your kids are OK. You got to make sure your kids are there because they either get kidnapped, or like, for instance, they just got killed,” Newton says.
Newton is referring to the fatal shooting of 9-year-old Sequoya Bacon-Jones, who was killed by a stray bullet in Trenton on Friday night. The shooting happened at the same apartment complex where Newton lives.
Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora says gun violence has been an increasing problem in the city. Many mayors across the state say that shooting suspects are being released too quickly due to the state’s bail reform laws.
“We're not looking to end bail reform, we're looking to mend bail reform,” says Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh. “There's just one flaw in the law we believe needs to be addressed.”
Sayegh and both Democratic and Republican lawmakers say they want to tweak the bail reform changes that were passed during former Gov. Chris Christie’s second term. They want to make it harder to release people who are charged with gun offenses.
“You should be detained, not released. Because very often what happens next is once you get released, you’re either the next shooting victim or the next shooter,” Sayegh says.
Some civil rights groups oppose changing the law. They say that it will keep people in jail who don’t pose a threat.
The state Senate version of the bill has not yet been scheduled for a vote.


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