TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, the Republican budget officer, issued the following statement commending the work of the state Department of Corrections and the Parole Board:
“New Jersey has been an easy mark. Legislators, the media, entertainers and the public find it easy to point their fingers at the state and say ‘Things Stink!’ Often this declaration is with good cause: New Jersey ranks last in ‘such and such,’ New Jersey lags other states in ‘you name it,’ New Jersey has the highest rate in the history of the world of ‘some malady. It’s refreshing to know, however, that this isn’t the case every time. In something as crucial as preventing crime, rehabilitating offenders, reducing recidivism, New Jersey has become a successful model for other states to follow.
“Through addiction treatment services, and education and occupational training opportunities, not only are we locking up the bad guys, we are effectively preparing them for a successful transition to life outside the prison walls. Providing ex-offenders with the tools and resources to attain long-term employment and housing is the most effective way to slow the revolving door of return offenders.
“Clearly, the Governor’s leadership in how the courts and the prisons deal with addiction, incarceration and rehabilitation is paying dividends. It’s no wonder other states want to duplicate what New Jersey is doing.
“Dealing effectively with crime and incarceration is a win on every level -- Lower crime impact on residents, lower costs of the criminal justice system and, on the moral level, people who are not in jail are people in their communities, working, spending time with family, and living productive lives. About all this – FEEL GOOD NEW JERSEY!”
- New Jersey is the recognized leader in the reduction of recidivism and incarceration rates.
- A recent publication by The Sentencing Project found 12 states with double-digit declines in prison population from 1999 to 2014. Only four states in the study reduced prison populations by 20 percent or more, and New Jersey stood above all the other examined states with a 31 percent decline.
- The state recidivism rate during the same period decreased from 48 percent to 32 percent in 2015, one of the most significant reduction in the country.
- The crime rate in New Jersey shrank by 20 percent between 2011 and 2014, and according to a crime survey by SafeWise released in 2015, “New Jersey’s crime rate is approximately 30 percent less than the typical state in the U.S.”
- Inmates earned 3,000 vocational training certificates in 2015, in industries including masonry, culinary arts and horticulture
- 38 high school diplomas and more than 340 high school equivalency diplomas were earned in 2015