Faced with jail overcrowding at a near epidemic proportion, earlier this year New Jersey recently overhauled how it determines bail eligibility for persons awaiting trial. Now, using an algorithm that weighs the risk of a person to “skip bail”, New Jersey has reformed their system bail system – removing cash from the equation. A person is either eligible to be let out of jail as they await trial, or they are not.
And apparently, this system is working very well. This algorithm, which was designed transparently by prosecutors, public defenders, and judges, measures simple historical factors such as the crime they are accused of, their criminal history, and their history of reporting for court.
Other areas are looking at replicating this system. It keeps low risk offenders out of jail and (hopefully) productive members of society, reducing costs of incarceration.
Just enough example of data for good.