TRENTON – Senator John H. Adler, the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today said the State should reassess mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent offenders, particularly those serving time for low-level drug offenses.
“I think we’re too quick to put people in prison for minor drug offenses,” said Senator Adler, D-Cherry Hill. “We could save their futures and our money by requiring them to get treatment instead of packing them off to prison.”
Senator Adler said he is pleased to see there is growing support to review the effectiveness of mandatory sentences, especially for non-violent offenders.
An Eagleton Poll, commissioned by Families Against Mandatory Minimums, found New Jersey residents are concerned about the high cost of maintaining the state’s crowded correctional facilities.
The poll showed a strong public preference for mandatory drug treatment and community service over mandatory prison terms for non-violent drug offenders as well as for modifying mandatory prison terms when appropriate. It also showed strong support for the use of special Drug Courts for offenders with substance abuse issues.
“I want to keep the bad guys locked up, but non-violent offenders with drug issues should receive treatment and then getback to their families and their jobs,” Senator Adler said.