N.J. Reducing Prison Population But Still Lacking

N.J. Reducing Prison Population But Still Lacking

Within the past few years, New Jersey has become one of the leaders of reducing prison population in the United States, according to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School.

However, NJ.com reports the Garden state still has a long way to go.

“It’s going to take a mix of different policies,” said Bryce Peterson, a researcher who contributed to a study by the Urban Institute of state prison systems.

“Obama has said the problem is we have a lot of non-violent drug offenders in the prison system. That’s somewhat true, and addressing it will edge us in the right direction, but if you really want to make an impact, you’re going to have to start to look at other forms of offenders,” Peterson said.

The Brennan Center report states that since 2000, N.J.’s prison population has fallen 26 percent, while crime fell 30 percent following the reduction to the number of reforms at state level.

“By maximizing our efficiency, we are saving money for New Jersey’s taxpayers while supporting those who were incarcerated to re-enter productive and healthy lives in our communities,” Gary Lanigan, commissioner of the DOC, said in a statement by the state Department of Correction.

NJ.com also reported the reforms that drove N.J.’s shrinking incarceration rate were “largely pre-date Gov. Christie”, according to director of the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union Udi Ofer.

“There’s no question that New Jersey has seen one of the larger decreases in its prison population,” Ofer said, “[But] prison conditions in New Jersey are not exactly a model.”

Ofer’s reference to prison conditions in the Garden state discusses the efforts to reform the state’s isolated confinement practices, including a bill sponsored by Sen. Ray Lesniak (D-Union).

Read the rest of the story at NJ.com.

Featured image credit to NJ.com with data compiled from the Office of Legislative Services.