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NJ seeks to ease transition for former inmates with prison reforms
By northjersey.com- Ashley Balcerzak
Published: 11/15/2019

There's an effort underway to reduce recidivism in New Jersey.

On one hand, Assembly leaders are advancing a handful of criminal justice bills that among other things, create a road map of what to do after released, restore voting rights to some and provide student aid options in prison.

"People make mistakes, serve time and then leave incarceration," said Sen. Sandra Cunningham, D-Hudson, a sponsor of many of the companion bills in the Senate. "That’s the time that you should be able to get into a position to change your life. But let's face it, a lot of the time they get out and can't support themselves and their families and will do the same thing and go back to prison. These bills are designed to give those people a foot up."

On the other hand, a commission jump-started by Gov. Phil Murphy recommended nine changes to sentencing policy Thursday including retroactively eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug and property crimes, reducing time served for second-degree robbery and burglary and reworking youth sentences. Murphy wants the Legislature to craft the bills and send them to him in the next two months.

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