The Importance of Sharing Bail Reform Success Stories
In 2019, laws were passed in New Jersey and New York that prohibited any judge from setting bail for several types of low-level crimes. There are 14 states in total and even more local jurisdictions that now have guidelines in place, implemented with the intent of reducing the use of cash bail.
The number of people whose lives have been positively impacted by bail reform is in the tens of thousands in New York and New Jersey alone. These are two prime examples of states where new measures have changed the game for reforming bail policies.
It’s crucial that these stories of bail reform success are told – and they are out there. Numerous individuals have been personally impacted by bail reform for the better, and this is their story to tell.
But far fewer have a platform with which to deliver their message. And besides this major obstacle of finding ways to get the message out there, there’s also the issue of people not necessarily wanting to speak up publicly at all. Yet, finding those who are able and willing to give real-world examples of positive bail reform impacts is crucial to help keep this momentum going.
From individual anecdotes that include personal details and relatable experiences all the way up to the statistics that show the big picture with hard facts, analysts and activists alike say that the dissemination of this story is an invaluable part of keeping this reform moving. It’s a narrative that can demonstrate to people how much this reform has done and the impact on real people’s lives, showing how far we’ve come and how much work there is left to do.
The Facts Are Clear
It’s true that the data surrounding this wave of reform doesn’t form perfectly consistent patterns all of the time. Still, the findings from various studies generally show that most incarcerated people aren’t getting arrested again in the states and jurisdictions implementing these new policies. Data also suggests that these stories are a genuine help and make a real difference in people’s lives, underlining the importance of spreading the word and sharing these experiences.
It’s much more common for these individuals to live out normal lives within the boundaries of the law and show up to all of their court dates. This has led many to believe that something is clearly going right with these new policies, and it’s something the world needs to hear. These proponents are adamant that bail reform is a story that the country should heed and something other states can model their own policies on moving forward.
Success Is Harder to Sell
The sad truth is that the public is more interested in when things go wrong. Success stories are much harder to sell from a media standpoint. Anyone working for a news outlet could tell you that.
This “marketability” component of bail reform news is compounded with another issue that has been more of an obstacle in telling this story than one might imagine: It’s hard to find people willing to come forward and share their stories with the world.
It’s Not an Easy Story to Tell
It takes great courage to make yourself that vulnerable, even though things did work out for you in the end. Unfortunately, there’s no shortage of those who will stigmatize these individuals. This means putting yourself in the public sphere always comes with some level of risk and some degree of backlash nowadays, no matter what your position or circumstances may be.
In some instances, their case is still ongoing and they’re afraid of compromising the ruling. Or if a Morristown criminal defense lawyer helped get their case dismissed promptly enough, the arrest may have gone unnoticed and would have otherwise been swept under the rug. To these individuals, speaking out about bail reform might seem like a surefire way of dragging their own name through the mud. Others aren’t even aware that anything remarkable occurred and didn’t realize they were benefiting from bail reform at all.
In order for this bail reform trend to resonate with people and be fueled by the public’s interest, some humanity must be injected into the raw information. It’s essential for more groups to find new ways to promote the confluence of statistics and personal relatability to further bolster bail reform.
If you are facing criminal charges, call Gregg Wisotsky at 973-898-0161 for a consultation with a Morristown criminal defense lawyer with over 28 years of experience. Gregg serves Morris County and other parts of New Jersey.