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New Jersey lawmakers want to limit bail for violent crime suspects

Being held in custody of the correctional system is a serious situation. For those who have never been arrested or kept in jail it might be easy to ignore the fear and shame that suspects face when detained.

So when lawmakers propose to keep more New Jersey violent crime suspects in jail by limiting their access to bail opportunities, that proposal must be thoroughly debated. The fear of potential repeat offenses by suspects is understandable, but fear alone can't drive legislation.

A group of New Jersey Assembly Republicans propose that bail reform should be passed in the state for suspects of violent crimes. More specifically, the lawmakers want it put to a public vote whether bail should be denied to certain criminal defendants whom are deemed dangerous and supposedly likely to reoffend while free on bail.

Supporting the legislators' proposal is research that shows one in six criminal suspects who is out on bail reoffends. But when logic is applied to that that statistic, doesn't it suggest that the vast majority of suspects do not reoffend while out on bail?

The basic purpose of bail is to allow criminal defendants to remain out of jail until they are actually convicted of a crime. Being in the custody of the system isn't like having an overnight in a motel. Taking away a person's freedom, even if he is accused of a crime, should only be done with the utmost care.

Bail reform, if passed, could threaten the ideology that a person is innocent until proven guilty. It could also lead to overcrowded correctional facilities and excessive expenses to keep suspects locked up before they've been found guilty of anything.

When there is a development in this matter we will post an update.

Source: The Ocean County Signal, "NJ Assemblymen Introduce Bail Reform Bill to Curb Violence," Greg Volpe, Feb. 19, 2013