Voter approval of Ballot Question 1 on the Nov. 4 statewide ballot would allow a historic, bi-partisan bail reform package – passed by the Legislature and signed into law this summer by Governor Christie -- to become law.
Here’s how Senior Staff Attorney Alexander Shalom explains it:
“The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey has advocated for comprehensive bail reform for years. Changing our current bail system, which unfairly keeps poor people jailed for months or even years when they pose little or no risk, is a civil rights imperative. For this critical reform to happen, New Jersey voters must approve a constitutional amendment to change how bail determinations are made.
“Thousands of New Jerseyans – mostly from communities of color –are currently being detained unfairly and stand to be released if the amendment passes. And, for the first time, all people will have meaningful speedy trial rights on the books.
“Together, moving New Jersey away from a money-based bail system and codifying the right to a speedy trial will amount to a tremendous victory for civil rights, racial justice, and the safety of New Jersey's communities.”
Ballot Question 1 is a key component in the creation of real bail reform in New Jersey, reform that focuses on a defendant’s risk to society rather than a defendant’s ability to afford bail. When implemented, this will result in thousands fewer people being detained for months, even years, awaiting trial.
For these reasons, the ACLU-NJ supports the passage of Ballot Question 1.
For further explanation of Ballot Question 1 -- and the reasons to support its passage -- please check out the recording of the tele-conference (MP4) we hosted Oct. 29, which includes more from Shalom and provides answers to questions offered up by the audience.