Corrupt New Jersey finally released jail bail reform data 18 months late, and the results are ugly. New Jersey began tracking and posting monthly jail population data beginning January 2017 when so-called “Bail Reform” went into effect. New Jersey continued to post monthly data until December 2020 when all data posting stopped.
Request for Jail Data
Acting Administrative Director of the New Jersey Courts, Honorable Glenn A. Grant, never responded to requests for jail data information. The letter also requested the reason why data stopped being published. However, none of the requests were answered. New Jersey statute requires a response. A response was never received. Do New Jersey judges have to comply with laws?
New Jersey Corruption
According to a Washington Post article New Jersey ranked 5th most corrupt state. Based solely on the criminal justice reforms implemented in January 2017, it is easy to see why. Below are just a few examples of the corrupt follies associated with New Jersey bail reform:
- “Experts” for Chief Justice Rabner’s told legislators there would be no cost to New Jersey taxpayers. The “experts” insisted filing fee increases would cover the cost. That was in direct conflict with testimony provided by expert witness Dr. Daraius Irani, executive director of the Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI). Dr. Irani testified it would cost taxpayers approximately $200 million per year. He was correct! The total cost is approaching $1 Billion since implementation.
- Just one year later, Dr. Irani was correct. The Report to the Governor and Legislature 2017 stated; “annual revenue collection for fiscal year 2018 is 2.4% below the revenue collection over that same timeframe for fiscal year 2017. In addition, expenses for the Pretrial Services Program will exceed revenues beginning in fiscal year 2018.”
- Chief Justice Rabner then reported in The Report to the Governor and Legislature 2018; “The solution to this impending program funding crisis is straightforward. Like other state-run programs, the Pretrial Services Program should be funded from the state budget rather than from filing fees.” In other words, a bait and switch was pulled on taxpayers. Especially after an expert economist told them the filing fees would not be sufficient.
- According to The Report to the Governor and Legislature 2019; ”With the surplus depleting and insufficient filing fees, the Judiciary raised concerns over CJR’s funding sustainability. As a result of legislative action and support from the Governor, effective July 1, 2019, the Pretrial Services Program is now funded from the state budget.” Now the cost is buried somewhere in the state budget where it cannot be easily tracked and scrutinized by the public.
- As with almost every government program, the cost goes up every year. Bail reform in New Jersey is no exception. New Jersey arrests declined by 90% between 2017 and 2021. Jail entries declined by 32% for the same period. A person would believe pretrial supervision staffing levels and cost would be reduced. Neither occurred.
New Jersey Jail Data
The charts and data provided are from the Criminal Justice Reform Information Center Criminal Justice Reform Information Center (njcourts.gov):
As predicted; arrests are rising back to levels last seen prior to “reform” implementation.
According to 2015 Criminal Justice Reform report to the governor there were 13,003 inmates on October 3, 2012. Bail reform went into effect January 1 2017. According to the chart above, there were 8899 inmates on 12/31/2015. Without any reforms in place, the jail population declined by 46% from 2012 to 2015.
From January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2021 the jail population declined by only 9.5%. However, arrests went from 141,743 in 2017 to 74,484 in 2021. A 90% reduction in arrests. When looking at defendants booked into jail, the bookings declined from 43,399 to 32,880; a 32% reduction in bookings.
Arrests declined by 49% and jail entries by 32%. However, the jail population declined by just 9.5% since bail reform was implemented in 2017.
Taxpayers Deserve Answers
Stuart Rabner, New Jersey Chief Justice and bail reform leader, must answer to taxpayers. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent on bail reform. The jail population declined at a greater pace without bail reform.
We all know the answer.
There was a 46% reduction in the jail population from October 2012 to December 2015. Reductions occurred prior to bail and criminal justice reforms. FBI arrest data for New Jersey shows a 24% decline in arrests during the same period. Bail reform had nothing to do with the jail population reduction that Stuart Rabner tries to take credit for. In fact, the jail population has been steadily increasing, though there has been a 32% decline in jail admissions.
New Jersey Bail Reform Jail Data
There was a 46% reduction in the jail population from October 2012 to December 2015. Bail reform became law in 2017. FBI arrest data for New Jersey shows a 24% decline in arrests during the same period. Clearly, bail reform had nothing to do with the jail population reduction that Stuart Rabner takes credit for. In fact, the jail population has been steadily rising the past two years. That’s with a 32% decline in jail admissions!
Hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars spent for worse performance. Chief Justice Rabner should change the website to Corrupt Criminal Justice Regress.