Two N.J. Pilot Programs to Ease Reentry for Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Publication: Philadelphia Inquirer

Author: Joelle Farrell

11/29/2011 - Gov. Christie said Monday that he wants to divert nonviolent drug offenders from prison and into rehabilitative programs, a move expected to save money and help lower the recidivism rate.

During a visit to Camden, the governor signed an executive order to expand the state's drug-court program and to create a task force to centralize the state's prisoner-reentry efforts and determine what barriers exist for inmates upon release.

The governor also wants to create a recidivism database that tracks the success of reentry programs.


Although New Jersey, like Pennsylvania, has a recidivism rate of at least 40 percent, according to a recent study by the Pew Center on the States, New Jersey has decreased its rate 11 percent since 1999. It has also reduced its prison population 11 percent to 21,182 inmates since its peak in 1999.

Meanwhile, Pennsylvania's prison population continues to increase. It's up 41 percent since 1999, and the state now holds more than 51,000 people.

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