Almost 40% in New Jersey Jails are There for being too Poor to Post Bail

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A sizeable portion of New Jersey’s jail population is behind bars because they’re too poor to post bail.


That’s one of the findings by Marie VanNostrand, PhD, who produced a new report for Luminosity and the Drug Policy Alliance that stated that 38.5% of those incarcerated by the New Jersey County Jail System (NJCJS) remain locked away due to their inability to pay for bail.


In terms of actual numbers, the lack of funds impacts about 5,000 prisoners at any given time.


“This means that the inmates were not serving a sentence, had no holds or detainers, and could have been released if they were able to post bail in the form of cash, cash/bond, 10% option or support arrears,” VanNostrand wrote.


The NJCJS consists of 25 prison facilities in 21 counties, housing 15,000 inmates on a daily basis.


An exposé by the Christian Science Monitor found that about 750,000 people across the U.S. are in local jails, with two-thirds awaiting trial. Of those waiting for the judicial system to decide their fate, about 80% have no choice but to remain in their cells due to their inability to pay the cost of making bail.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

New Jersey Jail Population Analysis: Identifying Opportunities to Safely and Responsibly Reduce the Jail Population (by Marie VanNostrand, Ph.D., Luminosity in Partnership with the Drug Policy Alliance) (pdf)

Justice for the Poor…No Bail, Stay in Jail (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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