As reported in the Press of Atlantic City, since its implementation on Jan. 1, 2017, Bail Reform has reduced the population of pretrial inmates in jails across the state by 20.3 percent from 7,173 to 5,718, according to court records.

Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said the reforms are the biggest change she has seen in her 24-year career in criminal justice.  “It’s changed the way we do business,” she said, adding the county hired two more assistant prosecutors to help accommodate the new workload.

However, critics of the reform, to include Newark Mayor, Ras Baraka,  also contend that the new law increases the possibility that a dangerous person could be set free and is a risk to public safety.  For instance, on Feb. 6, a Newark man who was released twice under the new law on domestic violence charges shot and killed his ex-girlfriend. The man, Kareem Dawson, 31, shot himself to death when police came to arrest him for the slaying.  In a statement, Baraka said the law needs to be fully examined so a similar situation does not occur again.  “We can’t go on losing lives like this,” Baraka said in a statement. “We need to look at the downgrading of charges by prosecutors, especially in cases of domestic violence, and to fix the serious flaws in bail reform.”

Under the new system, the decision to keep a defendant in jail is based in part on a new scanning system that brings up alleged offenders’ criminal histories and helps determine whether they are a risk to the community or a risk of fleeing before a court date.

In addition to the public safety risks, the law itself faces the possibility of collapse if more revenue is not brought in to sustain it.  The law relies on funding from court fees instead of the state budget.  As of the beginning of this year, the judiciary was spending more on the program than it was collecting in fees and is expected to hit the wall within a year.  Because there is a 48-hour deadline to make a decision on whether an offender must stay in jail or be freed until trial, many counties have had to hire more staff in sheriff’s departments, prosecutor’s offices and courts.  Courts now must be open on weekends and holidays to adhere to this deadline.  However, as one can imagine, as the jail population shrinks, Counties also believe that the number of corrections officers on staff should also shrink.

We will continue to monitor this controversial social justice program and the effects that it has on public safety and public safety officers throughout the State of New Jersey.

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Photo of Frank M. Crivelli Frank M. Crivelli

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state…

Frank M. Crivelli’s practice revolves around the representation of over eighty-five (85) labor unions in various capacities, the majority of which bargain for law enforcement entities. He is proud to be called on a daily basis to provide counsel to over 12,000 state, county and local law enforcement officers, firefighters and EMS workers.

Mr. Crivelli specializes his individual practice in collective negotiations.  Over the past twenty (20) years, Mr. Crivelli has negotiated well over one hundred (100) collective bargaining agreements for various state, county, municipal and private organizations and has resolved over thirty-five (35) labor agreements that have reached impasse through compulsory interest arbitration.  Mr. Crivelli routinely litigates matters in front of the New Jersey State Public Employment Relations Commission, the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law, third party neutrals for mediation, grievance and interest arbitration, the Superior Court of New Jersey and the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Mr. Crivelli founded and created the New Jersey Public Safety Officers Law Blog ( approximately fifteen (15) years ago where he and members of his firm routinely publish blog posts regarding legal issues related to the employment of New Jersey Public Safety Officers.  The blog now contains over six hundred (600) articles and is reviewed and relied upon by thousands of public employees.  Mr. Crivelli has also published books and manuals pertaining to New Jersey Public Employee Disability Pension Appeals and the New Jersey Worker’s Compensation System. Currently, he is drafting a publication on how to Prepare and Negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.  He lectures annually at the New Jersey State PBA Collective Bargaining Seminar, the National Association of Police Organization’s Legal Seminar, the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission Seminar on Public Employment Labor Law, the United States Marine Corps’ Commander’s Media Training Symposium and to Union Executive Boards and General Membership bodies on various labor related topics.

Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Crivelli joined the United States Marine Corps where he served as a Judge Advocate with the Legal Services Support Section of the First Force Services Support Group in Camp Pendleton, California.  While serving in the Marine Corps, Mr. Crivelli defended and prosecuted hundreds of Special and General Court Martial cases and administrative separation matters.  In addition to his trial duties, Mr. Crivelli was also charged with the responsibility of training various Marine and Naval combat command elements on the interpretation and implementation of the rules of engagement for various military conflicts that were ongoing throughout the world at that time. After leaving active duty, Mr. Crivelli remained in the Marine Corps Reserves where he was promoted to the rank of Major before leaving the service.

For the past fifteen (15) years, Mr. Crivelli has been certified as a Civil Trial Attorney by the Supreme Court for the State of New Jersey, a certification which less than two percent (2%) of the attorneys in New Jersey have achieved.  He is a graduate of Washington College (B.A.), the City University of New York School of Law (J.D.), the United States Naval Justice School, and the Harvard Law School Program on Negotiation.