Courts: NJ bail reform working, but sustainable funding needed

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- A new state judiciary report shows the number of defendants being detained before trial has dropped by 20 percent in the year since New Jersey overhauled its bail reform system.

But the report also shows the program faces financial difficulties because it relies on court fees instead of a "stable sustainable funding stream."

The reforms that took effect in January 2017 all but eliminated cash bail.

Proponents say the reforms keep violent offenders detained until trial while providing poor, low-level defendants the opportunity to be freed. Critics say some who were released were soon re-arrested on new charges.

The data shows 44,319 people were issued complaint warrants last year. Prosecutors sought to have 19,366 of those defendants detained until trial, but only 8,043 people in that group were ordered held.