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May 28, 2008

New study urging drug sentencing alternatives in New Jersey to save $$$

As detailed in this new AP story, "New Jersey could save millions by reforming sentencing laws for nonviolent drug offenses, a new study finds."  Here are more basic details from the AP report:

The Drug Policy Alliance study determined alternatives to jail for nonviolent drug offenders would let more money be invested in the state's poorest families and communities.  It found the state spends $331 million per year jailing nonviolent drug offenders, or more than the entire corrections budgets for 16 states.  It also found the state is also losing out on taxable income by sending nonviolent drug offenders to jail and limiting their future employment.

The new Drug Policy Alliance study is titled "Wasting Money, Wasting Lives: Calculating the Hidden Costs of Incarceration in New Jersey," and can be accessed at this webpage.  Here is how the report is summarized:

This report is the first-ever analysis of the hidden and comprehensive costs of incarceration in New Jersey.  In addition to the cost of prison beds (the usual measure of incarceration costs), the report examines hidden costs such as lost wages during the time people are incarcerated, lost lifetime wages that result from diminished employment opportunities, lost taxable income, and lost child support.  At a time when the state is facing severe budget deficits and cutting critical social programs and services, the report finds that the state is losing literally billions of dollars in direct and hidden costs as a result of the harsh and ineffective overuse of incarceration.  The report looks at costs state-wide and also provides a snapshot of costs for New Jersey’s largest city, Newark.

May 28, 2008 at 03:55 PM | Permalink

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