TRENTON – Senator Shirley Turner (D- Mercer) issued the following statement today on Governor Christie announcing an initiative for the expansion of the state’s Drug Court Program, which offers non-violent drug offenders treatment and recovery counseling rather than prison sentences:
“I was pleased to learn that the governor is expanding the state’s successful Drug Court Program to give non-violent offenders the opportunity to receive treatment for their addictions and put an end to the criminal activity that often goes hand-in-hand with alcohol and drug abuse. Throughout my legislative career, I have been a strong proponent of this program, because it is both effective and efficient. This is good news for taxpayers, as well as for those who need the help that this program offers.
“Drug court relieves taxpayers of the burden of paying approximately $50,000 per year in incarceration costs. The program requires participants to obtain employment, pay penalties and child support, and meet other financial obligations, all of which contribute to our state’s economy in a positive way.
“Now that we have seen the good that this program provides at the county level, we also need to expand it to where the need is greatest — at the municipal level. My bill, S440, permits counties to establish a central municipal drug court where non-violent offenders can receive the help they need before their problems escalate. I hope the governor will support this legislation, as it compliments his efforts to expand the drug court program and supports rehabilitation over incarceration.”
Additional information about New Jersey Drug Courts can be found at: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/drugcourt/
Drug Court Statistics: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/drugcourt/njstats.pdf
Drug Court Testimonials: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/drugcourt/testimonials.htm
Drug Court Economic Impact Information: http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/drugcourt/economic.htm