If you had just been reading the New Jersey Star Ledger over the past few months, than you would easily believe that most people in New Jersey would support the current proposed bail reform legislation. However, based on the recent results of an online poll conducted on nj.com, it appears the public feels differently than the editorial staff of the Star Ledger. In fact, the results are so skewed in the other direction, one must seriously think about the appropriateness of the bail reform overall. According to a last look at the poll results, 63% disagreed with the current legislation. The full poll results are below. They are as follows:
23% Yes, the changes they would bring make sense
63% No, state Assembly members still have questions regarding bail reform
10% I agree with one of the changes but no both
4% No opinion/other
The bail bond industry has been under attack in New Jersey for the past 18 months. The industry has been blamed for overcrowded jails, corruptions, inefficiencies and the list goes on. The reality is that the commercial bail industry is one of the only components of the New Jersey criminal justice system that is truly working. Jails are not crowded because people can't afford a bail bond. They are crowded because the time it takes to process and move defendants thru the system is inefficient and lengthy. Additionally, people are not sitting in jail because they can't afford a bail bond, they are their because they can't pay fines (which have nothing to do with the bail bond industry).
If anything, commercial bail could be an essential part of the solution to New Jersey's criminal justice problem. Just as the bail bond companies in California have played a role in making the pretrial release process more fair and efficient, it could play an important role and be a valuable resource to those in New Jersey as well.
See the original article and poll below.