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March 8, 2006

Fascinating op-ed on New Jersey sentencing

The New Jersey Star Ledger ran this fascinating op-ed which supports pending legislation to establish a permanent sentencing commission and says a lot about sentencing in New Jersey and elsewhere. Here are some highlights:

New Jersey residents have every right to insist that the state's criminal justice system promote public safety by implementing sentencing policies that reduce crime. Particularly in light of the budget crisis we now face, it's imperative that these policies make fiscal sense....

In the last 20 years, spending on correction-related items in New Jersey has increased more than 555 percent, from $203 million in 1982 to $1.033 billion in 2006.  This increase was largely due to the explosive growth of New Jersey's prison population.  From 1977 to 2002, the number of state inmates more than quadrupled.  By 2002, 27,891 were behind bars. New Jersey also suffers the very costly distinction of having, by a wide margin, the highest percentage of prisoners incarcerated for drug offenses (36 percent compared with the national average of 21 percent)....

Although New Jersey is by no means unique in having to confront the exorbitant costs attributable to large and expanding prison populations, it lags behind many states that are promoting innovative reforms that reduce expenditures on corrections without sacrificing public safety.  The reason? Since 1979, 22 states and the federal government have established permanent and independent sentencing commissions.  In 2004, the New Jersey Commission to Review Criminal Sentencing was created, but only on a temporary basis, to ask just such questions and provide answers based on the best current data and state-of-the-art analytical research.

Pending legislation would make the commission permanent and charge it with the task of reviewing all proposed bills related to criminal sentencing.  Passage of this bill would ensure that legislators and the public receive solid and impartial information on which to base their votes to guarantee that taxpayers get the most for their buck on corrections spending.

March 8, 2006 at 01:49 PM | Permalink


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Hello my name is Tina - I wanted to know how can a prosecutor file a indictment before the statue of limitation runs out. charge cds,3rd degree. I have seen a judge yet and August 11,2008 will make it five years. I'm waiting now to be indicted by now and mon-tues.

Help please,

Posted by: Tina C | Aug 9, 2008 12:43:13 AM

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