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May 29, 2008

Will NJ finally reform its drug sentencing laws?

If sound policymaking were a priority, the New Jersey legislature would have long ago responded to the the New Jersey Commission to Review Criminal Sentencing  potent 2005 report urging reforms to the state's drug sentencing laws and particularly its laws creating "drug-free zones" (background here).  But, from the better-late-than-never file comes this new story from the Newark Star-Ledger suggesting that proposed reforms may be in the works:

Two prominent state lawmakers yesterday predicted passage by next month of a bill to give judges some flexibility in sentencing people arrested for nonviolent drug crimes near schools. Support for the bill from Senate President Richard Codey (D-Essex) and Assemblyman Joseph Cryan (D-Union) came on the same day a new report highlighted the high cost New Jersey pays to keep nonviolent drug users and small-time dealers behind bars.....

"No one wants to appear to be soft on crime.  I know that's the big elephant in the room," Cryan said. "But the time has come for us to change the way we do things from a lock 'em up, throw away the key philosophy.  Let's understand that hasn't worked."  Codey, once an opponent of the legislation, supports the latest version, amended by the Attorney General's Office with his participation, because it maintains the 1,000-foot drug-free perimeter. "For me, this is for first-time offenders, where no violence involved," Codey said.

Two Republicans on the committee abstained because the bill did not guarantee treatment and supervision for offenders, and did not upgrade penalties for violent drug criminals. "We have gone from an overzealous bill that caught people in an unfair trap to a bill that will allow everyone to walk," Assemblyman Jon Bramnick (R-Union) said yesterday.

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May 29, 2008 at 05:48 PM | Permalink

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Comments

I appreciate the concern which is been rose. The things need to be sorted out because it is about the individual but it can be with everyone.
Verronica
New Jersey Drug Treatment Centers

Posted by: verronica | May 1, 2009 5:20:26 AM

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