Too many people across the United States spend too long in jail before they’ve ever been convicted of a crime, simply because they are too poor to post cash bail. At the same time, some dangerous offenders are able to buy their way out of jail by posting cash bail, regardless of the risk they pose to the community.

For far too long, the criminal justice system in New Jersey — and many other states — suffered from these dual fundamental failures. Recently, however, New Jersey instituted sweeping reforms to its bail system. The lesson we offer from the front lines of the New Jersey bail reform effort is this: It is not easy, but it works.

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