Updated: Apr 9, 2022
On Jan. 1, 2017, the New Jersey court system began using the risk-assessment tool to help judges make more informed decisions about pretrial release. To predict whether a defendant poses a low, moderate or high level of risk, pretrial services officers now review each defendant's criminal history, record of prior court appearances and other objective information -- as they will in an estimated 70,000 cases per year. Officers then make a recommendation to the judge.
Most defendants will be released pretrial on a range of conditions that will not include money bail. For low-risk defendants, the court may simply direct an officer to send a text message or place a phone call to remind defendants when they must appear in court. Defendants who pose greater risks may be placed on electronic monitoring. Those considered a serious threat to public safety or risk of flight will be detained. Judges can also modify conditions of release based on new circumstances.
Defendants who are detained will be subject to the new law's speedy trial provisions, which impose time limits for when a defendant must be indicted and when a trial must begin.
Welcome to the Criminal Justice Reform Information Center. Here you will find information related to the efforts of the NJ Judiciary and its criminal justice reform partners in state, county and municipal government to implement bail and speedy trial reform and to form a pretrial services unit.
On Jan. 1, 2017, the state shifted from a system that relies principally on setting monetary bail as a condition of release to a risk-based system that is more objective, and thus fairer to defendants because it is unrelated to their ability to pay monetary bail. The statute also sets deadlines for the timely filing of an indictment and the disposition of criminal charges for incarcerated defendants.
Criminal Justice Reform
A Step by Step Guide
PRETRIAL MYTH vs REALITY
INFORMATION FOR DEFENDANTS
What to expect.