There are big changes for the bail system brewing in New Jersey. Beginning in January, New Jersey judges will be allowed to not only deny bail to high risk offenders but will be able to release low risk offenders from jail using a non-monetary system. The new bail laws, which New Jersey voters approved in 2014, now allow offenders to be released if they meet certain criteria such as how much of a threat they are to the community, the severity of the crime, and whether they are financially able to post bail.
Experts say that the reason for bail reform in New Jersey is to lower court costs as well as clear out some of the prisons. News reports say that 12 percent of the jail population are defendants who are charged with minor crimes yet can’t afford to post bail. However, it’s important to note that these offenders may complete bail by using an alternative system like participating in a pre-trail program.
Could we expect something like this to happen in Pennsylvania? For the past couple of years now, bail reform has been on the mind of many state politicians. Pennsylvania has the highest incarceration rate among all states in the Northeast, even though it’s been reducing the prison population in recent years. And just like New Jersey, many of those in our overflowing prisons can’t afford to make bail, which is costing the states millions of dollars.
In 2015, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney had set a goal of cutting the city’s jail population by a third over the next few years. One of the ways the city plans to cut costs is create a bail system similar to New Jersey’s. But that government is not the only one thinking of bail reform — in February, Gov. Tom Wolf and other state leaders launched the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which is meant to review the criminal justice system and see if it can make it more effective. Could this mean changing to a plan similar to that of New Jersey’s? Only time will tell.
If your loved one has been arrested and is awaiting trial, we can help you with bail. Contact Andrew Pizzo Bail Bonds today and get your loved one free.