Less Crime And Fewer Inmates In New Jersey

A new study showed that the crime rate in the Garden State is reducing and the number of state prison inmates is also decreasing.

New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice released a report which shows that New Jersey’s prison population has decreased 26 percent since 2000 while the overall crime rate reduced almost 30 percent during that same time period of 15 years.

New programs and initiatives are the cause of the reduction in the crime rate, according to New Jersey Department of Corrections Commissioner Gary M. Lanigan. New programs are assisting the released inmates in finding employment which is the reason of the reduction in crime rate according to Lanigan. “Just that initiative alone since it started, has diverted 6,000 inmates from the Department of Correction custody to treatment programs in the community, while the violent offender is still being locked up. We have the one stop centers where inmates can go after they’re released to find employment, you have initiatives such as ban the box”, he said. Education behind bars is focused and a new program is started for that. “As inmates are leaving our system, we attempt to ensure they have either a GED diploma or a 12th grade reading level”.

According to him, the collaboration between the Department of Corrections, the parole board and the jails is better now, by which the inmates are transferred into state facilities in a short period of time and they can benefit from the multiple programs created to assist them when they are out which reduces the crime rate. Lanigan added, “Right now, there are about 21,000 Corrections Department inmates in custody, compared to 30,000 in 15 years ago, and the recidivism rate at that same time was some 48 percent at the turn of the century, and today it’s down to 32 percent”. He also said, “It saves a lot of money for taxpayers, we’ve closed facilities, and we’ve moved inmates off the county jail system payroll. It’s much more efficient and saves a lot of money”.

A policy is proposed by the report, which tracked crime rate in all the 50 states and that policy is to offer financial incentives to states that decrease their prison populations by 7 percent within the time period of 3 years, but only if the crime rates don’t rise in the state.

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Matthew V. Portella

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