TRENTON — New Jersey's attorney general issued tougher guidelines Wednesday for when prosecutors should seek to have defendants jailed under the state's recently reformed bail system.

The new rules from Christopher Porrino instruct prosecutors to seek detention for defendants accused of serious gun crimes, as well as those with a history as a sex offender or on parole or pre-trial release for another crime.

It also expands the categories of cases in which prosecutors are expected to charge someone under a complaint-warrant rather than a summons, which would mean they are arrested and jailed for up to 48 hours before seeing a judge. Those cases include anyone accused of eluding or assaulting police or facing child pornography charges.

The changes come amid criticism raised over the major overhaul of the state's bail system that took effect Jan. 1.

The reforms were enacted as a way to keep violent offenders detained until trial while providing poor, low-level defendants the opportunity to be freed. But some lawmakers and law enforcement officials say it has led to some people being quickly released because they weren't deemed a threat, only to be re-arrested on new charge.

Elie Honig, director of the state's Division of Criminal Justice, said that since the reforms took effect officials have "replaced the theories behind our original directive with real-life experience and data."

Alexander Shalom, a senior attorney for the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told that prosecutors are already seeking detention in too many cases. He believes that with the more stringent guidelines "we'll see many more detention hearings, and many more detention applications being denied by courts."

Data shows judges granted about 56 percent of detention requests in the first three months since the reforms took effect.
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