Groups tell lawmakers to overhaul bail system

Several advocacy groups are telling New Jersey lawmakers that they should move ahead with a constitutional amendment to eliminate the right to bail for people accused of crimes.

But they told a state Senate committee hearing on Thursday that it should be done only if a law is adopted to lay out the details of overhauling the state’s bail system.

Supporters say the changes would address two problems. One is that some dangerous criminals are posting bail to get out of jail and commit more crimes. The other is that people accused of nonviolent offenses are spending months in jail because they cannot afford any bail.

To put a constitutional amendment on November’s ballot, both houses of the Legislature would have to take action by Aug. 4.

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