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New Jersey Gov. Proposes New Initiative to Reduce Prison Recidivism Rates

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has proposed a new rehabilitation program aimed at giving offenders the support they need to avoid criminal activity when released from prison.  The governor's program builds upon the state's current prisoner reentry rehabilitation program and would include New Jersey's current Drug Court program, among other measures.

The governor's initiative would include the appointment of a Governor's Office Reentry Coordinator.  The initiative would also establish a Governor's Task Force on recidivism reduction and would conduct ongoing program assessments.  The program would establish a database dedicated to tracking recidivism rates in the state.  The governor made these suggestions at an event at Cathedral Kitchen, a Camden-based organization that gives on-the-job training to prisoners, parolees and others reentering the workforce.

Some of the measures the governor is proposing in his initiative are already in place in New Jersey.  For instance, the Drug Court program has enjoyed great success in reducing recidivism rates in New Jersey.   The state currently spends more than $225 million on reentry and prevention programs, including more than $40 million on the Drug Court program. 

According to the Drug Court report for October 2010, offenders who have been through the drug court program have a re-arrest rate of around 16-percent and a reconviction rate of around 8-percent.  Offenders who have not been through the drug court program have a re-arrest rate closer to 54-percent and a reconviction rate of 43-percent.  The governor's initiative will invest in these kinds of programs that have been proven to work and will also work to identify other measures effective in reducing recidivism rates.

The New Jersey criminal defense lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons charged with DUI, fraud, murder, assault, sex crimes, drug crimes and other crimes across New Jersey.

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