New Jersey Pretrial System Making Communities More Dangerous
“It is a proven fact that since its enactment, law enforcement has encountered a more difficult time in attempting to keep New Jersey’s communities safe.” James E. Ford, Recording Secretary and Legislative Chairman of the New Jersey State Fraternal Order of Police.
Recommendations by the New Jersey State Fraternal Order of Police:
- First and foremost, high risk accused offenders should be held without bail for crimes such as murder, aggravated sexual assault and other violent offenses.
- Second, first time offenders and those accused of petty crimes should continue to be released on a summons.
- Third, offenders who are in the middle category of petty crimes and high risk, violent crimes should be given monetary bail. Monetary bail obligates those individuals who have a financial obligation in an offender to monitor the offender and ensure that he attends court dates, seeks employment and integrates into society. This will also help eliminate the recent surge in processing and transporting costs for law enforcement. Furthermore, monetary bail generates revenue for the State which can be used to assist law enforcement and the legal system in handling the unforeseen costs of the new bail reform law.
- Finally, the FOP recommends eliminating PSA scoring, which can be skewed. For example, someone who commits an offense and had been incarcerated for a period of 15 years could have a 3/3 on the PSA due to not having any police contact for the past 15 years. Of course, this is due to him having been in prison for the last 15 years. Incarceration should be determined only by a Judge, not by a computer, who has the knowledge and experience necessary to determine whether a suspect should be released or incarcerated.
(See Attached Letter by the Honorable James E. Ford, “New Jersey State Fraterial Order of Police, Expresses Concerns New Bail system,” New Jersey State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, See Attached Later, 4/17/03)