In its first year, New Jersey’s historic bail overhaul slashed the number of people charged with minor crimes locked up until trial because they couldn’t post bail by 20 percent. Yet the system is “simply not sustainable” because it relies on court fees rather than the state budget, a report from the New Jersey judiciary says.
A new poll sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation finds that 60 percent of respondents said they believed the most important consideration when sentencing someone for a nonviolent crime was rehabilitation or treatment; only 23 percent said punishment.
Researchers found that almost half of a sample group under community supervision in Washington DC had not been examined by a physician for signs of mental distress. But after testing, some 30 percent tested positive for moderate depression and 21 percent were diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
An outbreak of hepatitis A in a number of states highlights the vulnerability of individuals suffering from both mental illness and substance abuse. Those most at risk —the homeless and formerly incarcerated—deserve “compassionate, evidence-based solutions,” says a TCR columnist.
If you are released ahead of your trial date, you’re 14 percent less likely to be found guilty, according to an American Economic Review study. Compared to those who can’t make bail and are held in pretrial detention, your economic outlook is better too, researchers concluded in a study of court records in Philadelphia and Miami-Dade counties.
Leaders of the campaign to close New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail are celebrating the announcement that one of the facility’s nine detention centers will be closed this year. But they said that fundamental justice change requires reform of the money bail system.
Almost six months after Hurricane Maria, residents are still suffering from the breakdown of an already-troubled justice system, aggravated by a police walkout and a rise in domestic violence calls, according to the latest episode of John Jay College’s “Criminal Justice Matters” program. Experts said the island’s problems serve as a warning for other communities where climate change increases the risk and frequency of weather catastrophes.