TRENTON – At a news conference at the Statehouse today, Senators Raymond J. Lesniak and Sandra Bolden Cunningham and criminal justice advocates announced the introduction of a comprehensive package of bills sponsored by the Senators to create a pathway to reform of New Jersey’s criminal justice system and rehabilitation for criminal offenders.
“As a nation that imprisons more of its residents per capita than any country in the world, we should continually evaluate our penal justice system to determine if our current policies provide protection for the safety of our residents and are cost-effective, or if changes are needed,” said Senator Lesniak, D-Union. “The four bills we are announcing today are designed to reduce waste and inefficiency in our criminal justice system and redirect resources to better protect the public by reducing repeat offenses. We have asked that these bills be moved in both houses prior to the budget break, so we can get on with changing our criminal justice system to make it more cost effective and to provide better safety to our residents.”
“This is a matter of fairness and fiscal sense for nonviolent offenders currently serving in the criminal justice system, and a matter of public safety for the rest of the State of New Jersey,” said Senator Cunningham, D-Hudson. “Under the current system, nonviolent offenders are warehoused with violent offenders, and often learn to become better criminals, rather than receive treatment for substance abuse that they so desperately need. These four bills will ensure that we direct our corrections spending to make a difference in the lives of nonviolent offenders, and that we ensure access to a job and the opportunity to support themselves upon release.”