Nov 28, 2011

NJ Expands Reentry Efforts

Today, as reported in North, NJ's Governor, Chris Christie, is expected to announce a major expansion of the state's reentry efforts. "The initiative adopts many of the recommendations made to the Christie administration by the Manhattan Institute, a conservative New York City-based think tank with a progressive reputation on prison issues, which was commissioned to analyze the state’s current prisoner re-entry system.
The institute found the state’s existing re-entry efforts amounted to 'a confusing system with no centralized definitions and mission, a lack of accountability for outcomes . . . and a lack of coordination, with potential duplication of services and no continuity between services provided in prison, during parole and in the community.'”

The Governor’s first major criminal justice initiative calls for:

"Expanding the state’s Drug Court program, which allows those convicted of certain non-violent drug offenses to bypass incarceration by agreeing to a strict regimen of court appearances and drug or alcohol treatment and other recovery services to break the addiction.

The creation of the Task Force for Recidivism Reduction, which will be co-chaired by attorney Lisa Puglisi, with the state Department of Corrections and the State Parole Board, and James Plousis, chairman of the State Parole Board. The task force will coordinate the many treatment and reentry programs across the state government to bolster reentry efforts, as well as make recommendations to the governor on how to improve those programs.

The task force will also assess the effectiveness of all reentry programs currently offered using a real-time recidivism database, which will allow officials to track individuals and the success of the programs they participate in. Using the data, the task force will identify programs that fail and suggest how resources could be better spent to improve recidivism rates."