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NJ bail system overhaul signed into law

During a ceremony outside Trenton City Hall Monday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a package of bills designed to overhaul the state’s bail system.

(David Matthau, Townsquare Media NJ)

The legislation would allow judges to let non-violent suspects out of jail pending their trials if they can’t afford to post bail. Another part of the legislation calls for a constitutional amendment to be placed on the November ballot, asking voters to give judges the authority to deny bail for dangerous, violent criminals.

“Under these reforms our justice system will be both more effective in protecting our communities from dangerous, violent repeat offenders, and fairer to those non violent offenders who do not deserve to sit in what has become the equivalent of debtors prison,” Gov. Christie said.

The governor added “we’ve seen how this broken system has affected people and we came together to fix it. The positive effect it’s going to have on the people of our state will be seen for years and years to come.”

Christie also signed the Ban the Box legislation that would initially stop employers from asking job seekers if they have a criminal record.

“The legislation aims to do the right thing,” he said. “This is a state that believes that every life is precious and that no life is beyond salvation; that everyone deserves a second chance. This is going to make a huge difference for folks who have paid their debt to society who want to start their lives over again and are going to have an opportunity to do just that in our state.”

During the signing ceremony, Christie stressed that bipartisan efforts were key in building support for the legislation, and said while partisan bickering continues in Washington, we’re doing things differently in New Jersey, getting things accomplished for the people of the Garden State.

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