State Fact Sheet

Public Safety in New Jersey

New Jersey

  • January 14, 2013

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Public Safety Performance Project > State Work > New Jersey

In the late 1980s, in response to a severe cocaine and crack epidemic, New Jersey enacted a major legislative initiative that included mandatory and enhanced penalties for drug offenses. As a result, the number of drug offenders sent to prison increased 32 percent between 1987 and 2008. In the last 20 years, the prison population has increased by 69 percent and corrections spending jumped 323 percent to cover this growth.

In October 2007, Governor Jon Corzine announced the creation of a Sentencing/Corrections Task Force that would operate under the auspices of the New Jersey Commission on Government Efficiency and Reform. The task force was charged with examining existing sentencing and corrections policies and assessing whether they achieve successful outcomes in the areas of recidivism and public safety. Early in its existence, the task force received technical assistance from the Vera Institute of Justice with support from Pew.

In December 2007, the task force supported recommendations developed by the Commission to Review Criminal Sentencing, including expansion of the existing drug court program, expansion of the Intensive Supervision on Probation program and the creation of regional assessment centers and treatment capacity for handling parolees at risk of violation. These recommendations were included in the governor’s FY09 budget and statutory changes to expand drug court eligibility were enacted in April 2008.

Throughout 2008, the task force developed a proposal that would establish a pilot program in which prison-bound nonviolent drug offenders would be mandated to a treatment regime. The proposal was set out in a task force report in January 2009.

PSPP_NJ_research

Brief  | February 2008
Work in the States: Sentencing and Corrections in New Jersey     arrow  

Issue Brief | December 2013
The Impact of Parole in New Jersey
Nearly 700,000 offenders were released from U.S. prisons in 2011. Ensuring their successful re-entry into the community remains a critical issue for public safety.arrow

 

Date:
January 14, 2013
State:
New Jersey
Report:
One in 31
 
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