New Jersey expands rehabilitation programs for non-violent offenders
CAMDEN, New Jersey:
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced a new prisoner rehabilitation program. The initiative will expand existing efforts to help non-violent offenders re-integrate into society. He signed the executive order on November 28, 2011.
In the hopes of discouraging repeat offences, Christie's plan will create a Task Force on Recidivism Reduction and an Office Re-entry Coordinator. Ongoing assessments and a live database are key components of the new initiative.
New Jersey's Drug Court Program has operated since 1996. It offers non-violent offenders drug treatment options instead of jail sentences. Its graduates have a reconviction rate of 8%, compared with 43% for drug offenders released from prison.
Under the new pilot plan, judges could give these alternative sentences -- under the current system, criminals have to ask for the drug court option.
According to Christie, Drug Court programs cost $11,000 per offender annually, while prison costs $39,000 per year.