As county prosecutors are already aware, New Jersey passed a series of statutory amendments in late 2014 that have collectively become known as Bail Reform. These new measures take effect January 1, 2017 and will shorten the time frame prosecutors’ offices have to react to the risk assessment and condition of release when a person is arrested for a crime.
Early notification of an arrest will be key to the prosecution. At CSI, we want to help our New Jersey county prosecutors’ offices to deal effectively and efficiently with these new regulations. If the Prosecutor’s Office has installed the InfoShare™ CJP module, which contains a screening component to send arrest data and documents from the police department directly and electronically to the prosecutor’s office, they already have an automated pipeline for receiving the complaints the moment they are written.
Bail Reform, whose details can be found at N.J.S.A 2A:162- 15 et seq., now requires the court to complete a risk assessment within 48 hours of the defendant being committed to jail. If the prosecutor hasn’t weighed in within that 48 hour period, the court’s decision stands. New bail reform measures lean heavily towards the release of the defendant, unless clear and convincing evidence is provided that no set of release conditions will reasonably assure the defendant’s appearance in court.
The potential problem for the prosecutor is that the court is not required by statute to notify the prosecutor’s office that a decision is being made. CSI has been working with the courts to enhance the Screening module with an interface that would take defendant and charge data entered by police in the eCDR system and populate it directly into our Screening module, along with crucial documents.
This will shorten the time it takes for prosecutors to receive arrest information, while also eliminating potential errors caused by duplicate data entry. This puts the prosecutor’s office in a better position to know instantly when a new defendant is being charged, and gives them a chance to evaluate the bail reform implications of the defendant’s arrest.
Also, CSI has begun work with a customer to create a data exchange directly with the county jail. When this enhancement is in place, the Screening module will show when a new inmate has arrived at the jail’s intake unit for admissions processing, thereby triggering Bail Reform’s 48-hour clock. This data exchange focuses narrowly and directly on only the cases that are subject to Bail Reform risk assessment, and may include sending eCDR data to the jail. The goal is to provide an exchange of data among all of the institutional partners in the criminal justice seamlessly and automatically, initiating on the very first entry by the local police office making an arrest.
CSI Technology Group looks forward to the exciting new possibilities that Bail Reform will open in the realm of data sharing and we intend to continue to optimize ways to provide efficient and cost-effective solutions to our customers, even when laws and procedures change the way they are accustomed to doing business.