Who is Being Held in New Jersey’s Jails?

In a first-of-its kind report on who is locked up in New Jersey county jails, the Drug Policy Alliance finds that nearly 75 percent of the 15,000 individuals in jail are awaiting trial, rather than serving a sentence, and they remain in jail an average of 10 months. The report also finds that 40 percent of the total jail population has the option of posting bail, but doesn’t have the finances, including more than 1,500 individuals who could be released pending trial with $2,500 or less. The Drug Policy Alliance is a Public Welfare Foundation grantee.

Gov. Chris Christie and the New Jersey State Legislature are debating reform proposals that would rely more on the level of risk the defendant posed to the community and the likelihood of failing to appear in court and less on the ability to come up with bail money.

As Marie VanNostrand, author of the report notes, “A system that provides limited or no alternatives to monetary bail often results in the detention of low risk individuals who lack resources and the release of high risk individuals who have resources.”

To view the full report,click here.


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