(TRENTON) – Senator Shirley K. Turner today offered her support to the governor’s proposal to expand the state’s Drug Court program. The governor made the announcement during a visit to the Trenton Homeless Shelter.
Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon), a longtime supporter of the drug court model and prime sponsor of legislation (S-448) to empower counties to establish a central municipal drug court, released the following statement:
“I fully applaud the goal of making New Jersey the first state in the nation to require that non-violent drug offenders enter treatment instead of prison. Those gripped by drug addiction, and their families, can have no hope for a brighter tomorrow if they have no indication that it will actually be better. Allowing non-violent offenders to get the drug treatment they need can restore that hope.
“Our long-standing policies of incarceration before intervention have failed. It is time to stop looking at non-violent drug offenders as hardened criminals, but rather as human beings who need help. Where they have been in effect, drug courts work. Intervention and rehabilitation are far more cost-effective — and effective, period — than incarceration. There is no reason for us not to expand.
“I look forward to working with the administration to see this vision becomes a reality, so that those afflicted will have every opportunity to restore their lives and rebuild their families.”