Counties seek injunction to halt N.J. bail system changes

(Andreyuu/Bigstock)

(Andreyuu/Bigstock)

A complaint filed by New Jersey counties could jeopardize bail system changes scheduled to take effect at the start of the new year.

The initial costs to implement the bail reforms are an illegal unfunded state mandate, said John Donnadio, executive director of the New Jersey Association of Counties.

“We’re looking at close to $1 million to $2 million per county to hire new sheriff officers, new prosecutors, make capital improvements,” he said.

But attorney Alexander Shalom with the American Civil Liberties Union said the counties’ complaint only looks at one side of the equation.

“Of course, there are costs associated with providing people with their constitutional rights,” he said. “But there are also going to be tremendous savings from the reduction in the jail population that they’re sure to enjoy.”

Shalom says it would cost the state millions of dollars to halt implementation of the reforms.

The planned changes would require judges to determine within 48 hours whether low-risk offenders should be released without bail while awaiting trial.

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