The Assembly Judiciary Committee recently passed a bill which proposes a pilot program for a non-voluntary drug court in two counties in the state of New Jersey. Bill A2883 is a weaker version of the bill proposed by Gov. Christie which required mandatory drug treatment for all persons convicted of nonviolent offenses.
Bill A2883 would provide for the establishment of a program mandating a non-voluntary drug court program for nonviolent offenders. The plan was first proposed by Gov. Chris Christie, who wants to give nonviolent drug offenders a chance at rehabilitation instead of incarceration.
The current policies allow far too many persons who have been convicted of nonviolent offenses or minor drug offenses to be sent to prison. Studies show that incarceration does little to reduce recidivism rates or to help treat a person who may be struggling with drug addiction.
However, lawmakers have had problems with the Governor’s proposal, especially the means of funding the program. According to lawmakers, a drug court program for nonviolent offenders would cost the state more than $20 million while Christie has only allocated about $2.5 million for such a program under his budget.
The Gov. outlined his proposal during his State of the State address earlier this year. The proposal was welcomed by New Jersey drug crimes attorneys who frequently see the effects of policies that require mandatory incarceration as a means of punishing persons who have committed nonviolent offenses.
A study released last month found that approximately 75 percent of men who were arrested for property crimes and violent crimes had illegal substances in their system at the time of the arrest. This finding confirms to New Jersey criminal defense attorneys that drug rehabilitation and treatment programs via a drug court system would be more effective in reducing crime rates than incarceration.
The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons who have been charged with sex crimes, drug crimes, murder, DUI and other crimes across New Jersey.