LETTER: Despite what Mayor Fulop says, no loopholes in state bail reform

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In a letter to the editor, New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance Policy Manger Alexandra Staropoli says that there are no loopholes in state bail reform – despite Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s claim to the contrary.

Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance Policy Manager Alexandra Staropoli.
Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and New Jersey Drug Policy Alliance Policy Manager Alexandra Staropoli.

Dear editor,

The only loophole we should be talking about is the one that was closed by New Jersey’s historic bail reform legislation.

Mayor Fulop’s argument against the reform directly contradicts the evidence-based elements of New Jersey’s new law that have made our state a national leader on this issue.

Prior to January 1, decisions about pretrial release in New Jersey were based on an individual’s access to resources rather than their potential risk to public safety.

Everyone was given a money bail, and those individuals who could afford to pay, regardless of their risk to public safety, were able to immediately pay for their freedom.

This loophole was closed on January 1. In the new system, judges can detain those individuals they believe pose too great of a risk to public safety—this was not possible in our old system.

Under bail reform, judges make decisions about pretrial release based on risk. Every defendant is given a risk assessment, and judges must consider the results of the assessment when making the decision to release or detain an individual.

Bail reform was passed with overwhelming support in New Jersey because of its ability to improve public safety and create a fairer criminal justice system. Critics of reform must be transparent about the dangerous and unfair system we had prior to January 1.

Alexandra Staropoli

Policy Manager, New Jersey

Drug Policy Alliance

2 COMMENTS

  1. I think it is completely ridiculous to think that judges don’t think about risk when setting bail? By removing financially secured release options, New Jersey has successfully created a criminal justice system with zero accountability. Maybe the author should post the appearance rates of those that are being let out of jail. Or even better, what is the recidivism rate of those released without any skin in the game. But I am pretty sure that won’t happen because, public sector pretrial advocates like Ms. Staropoli don’t like facts because they get in the way of their social justice talking points. We all know the results of any of these statistics would show the opposite of what was promised by Christie and Sweeney. There is a reason that accused criminal defendants are chanting bail reform in the courtroom holding cells. They know that they Bail reform policy is a complete and utter joke. It is time to stop coddling our criminals and treating them like victims. Instead we should be focused on ensuring that those accused of crimes are held accountable and the real victims get a chance at justice….something that is not happening in New Jersey.

  2. Bail is supposed to be about the likelihood of a defendant returning to court for the process after the initial arrest .
    If someone is arrested then released on their own recognizance and commits a violent crime….the fur will fly.

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