Prison Reform in NJ: a Moral and Economic Imperative

NJ Raymond Lesniak wants to reduce prison recidivism rates by offering a small fraction of now risk, non-violent drug offenders early release in exchange for entering a rigorous drug/alcohol treatment program.

Learn about how it’ll pay for itself (+ an intriguing connection between former Gov. McGreevey & First Lady Mary Pat Christie) in this 2min. clip.

Comments (9)

  1. speedkillsu

    what incentives do the victims get ? Besides picking up the bills for this ?

    Reply
  2. Bill Orr

    The bill numbers (A3703 and S2614) have been posted but not yet the actual bill, which explains the plan. The concept makes excellent sense. It would help if its sponsorship, currently only Democrats, were expanded to Republicans. It could be a win-win-win for everyone except maybe those companies which provide in-service drug/alcohol treatment for inmates and who might oppose the plan. If indeed it’s expense neutral, using existing corrections funds to pay for the treatment, that would make the bill all the more attractive.  It sounds very promising.    

    Reply
  3. firstamend07

    A memo was brought to my attention by a friend in the DOC that shows that the NJDOC commissioner has other plans regarding the fight against recidivism:

    A Message from the Commissioner

    Last March Governor Christie instructed the New Jersey Privatization Task Force to develop strategies that would reduce the size, scope and cost of state government. In July, the Governor released the Task Force’s report, which identifies more than S200 million in potential cost savings from privatizion of various state services.

    Acting on a recommendation contained in that report, a committee headed

    by Chief of Staff Mark Cranston was formed and charged with studying the feasibility of privatizing educational services in the New Jersey Department of Corrections. In a general context. Chief Cranston’s committee has undertaken a cost analysis of the department’s educational sendees to determine what, if any. savings can be realized through privatization.

    The committee will develop a Request for Proposal. Based on the response, a determination will be made on whether or not to move forward by developing a timetable to implement a pilot program at one of the NJDOC’s prisons. The approach is similar to the one the department is utilizing in food services.

    Furthermore, the committee is examining the possible cost benefits and feasibility of adopting a 10-month academic year for adult basic educational services. By statute, inmates under age 21 must attend school four hours per day, five days per week. 225 days per year, so possible changes would not impact that population’s academic programming.

    SO THE LEGISLATURE IS PUSHING TO FIND WAYS TO PREVENT RECIDIVISM AND THE NJDOC IS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO CUT CORNERS AND OUTSOURCE THEIR EDUCATION.

    Reply
  4. sandy23

    the Administrative Office of the Courts with their Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) I have had 12 years experience with non-violent offenders in this early release program.  We house the women in a structured environment.  They are assigned a Probation Officer, must find work, pay their fines and attend group session for a significant period of time until they are officially released. We have had many success stories and this program gives those who want to succeed a chance.  Those who do not want to succeed get returned to prison to complete their time.

    At this time I have 5 ex-offenders who have come through this program, who now work at my agency.  They are some of my best employees.

    I strongly support this concept.  I have seen it work, even with long term prisoners, and I can guarantee that it is cheaper and more effective for non-violent offenders.

    Reply
  5. firstamend07

    Having followed the inmate recidivism issue over the years and knowing dedicated people who are directly involved with inmate education I am concerned with their reports of continued indifference to the laws that were passed last year ,in particular A 4202.

    At this particular time thousands of inmates are on waiting lists and Christie’s Corrections Dept. is starving, through attrition, the education system inside the DOC. They simply do not replace teachers in that Department.

    In addition they are going to be violating the very first mandate of the Law by not providing a needed report.

    The law reads :

    2(1) Stage One:  The Prisoner Reentry Commission, established pursuant to P.L.    , c.   (C.       ) (pending before the Legislature as Assembly Bill No. 4201 (1R) of 2009), shall prepare a report outlining and assessing the availability of innovative technology, volunteer services and private sector resources the Department of Corrections may utilize to support and enhance in-prison education programs.  In preparing this report, the commission, in consultation with the Department of Corrections and the Department of Education, shall prepare an inventory of the in-house educational programs currently available to inmates, the curricula for those programs, and the educational materials utilized.  The report shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Corrections and the Commissioner of Education, along with any recommendations the commission may have, not later than the first day of the 12th month following the effective date of P.L.    , c.   (C.      ) (pending before the Legislature as this bill).

    This report is due on 1/18/11. No one is even aware of a Prisoner Reentry Commission being in existence.

    Lesniak ,McGreevey,and others talk a good game but there is never any followup and that is why nothing ever changes.

    The Assembly and Senate sponsors of A 4202 seem to have no interest in finding out if that law is being followed.

    The Governor did not like that law and he has just decided to ignore it.

     

    Reply

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