Christie Seeking NJ Bail Reform, Says “It’s Not A Fair System”


New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is urging legislators to support changes he says are needed to reverse the “utter failure” of New Jersey’s bail system, declaring that “we are nearly out of time to act,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. “How can we continue to allow a system to exist that fails our poor, that fails those who pose no risk to the community, and fails our citizens because we’re allowing dangerous people to walk free just because they can afford to?” Christie said. “It’s not a fair system.”

Christie has asked legislative leaders to vote on two measures that would eliminate the right to bail for certain defendants and allow for the release of others before trial. Lawmakers say they are close to a deal, though Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto signaled his chamber might not be ready to act just yet. But pressure is ramping up to do so, from newspaper editorial boards across the state to prominent clergy and former Gov. Jim McGreevey, who works with former inmates. “The ACLU has actually supported something I’m doing,” Christie said, referring to the American Civil Liberties Union. “This should be noted – briefly – but noted.” Christie decried the current system, which he said allowed those charged with nonviolent crimes to “sit in jail for an average of 10 months while violent people who can afford the bail walk free.”

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