From Bright Plots to Blind Spots: Mapping Departures in Case Review Post-Bail Reform in Two New Jersey Courts

Andres F. Rengifo, Sofía G. Flores, Ashley N. Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study documents the extent to which prosecutors and judges in New Jersey deviate from new case review protocols post-bail reform. We draw on a random sample of hearings observed in two courts (N = 372) to (a) map prosecutorial requests to depart from risk-based recommendations for pretrial monitoring and (b) explore patterns in judicial review signaling more limited case processing. Findings show that in 16% of cases, prosecutors deviated from guidelines and most of these motions were adopted by judges to increase supervision. Deviations from process by judges were more frequent, with 39% of cases observed linked to one or more markers of reduced review. Multivariate results suggest that case-level factors influenced the patterning of these departures in different ways, with older defendants and most Latinx defendants receiving a more limited assessment of their cases. We discuss findings in connection to literature on corrections reform and smart decarceration initiatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-115
Number of pages20
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

Keywords

  • criminal justice system
  • decision-making
  • implementation
  • law
  • punishment

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