Of the nearly 70,000 adults and 8,000 juveniles expected to leave New Jersey correctional facilities over the next several years, it is estimated that two-thirds will be re-arrested within three years of release. Meanwhile, annual state spending on correction and supervision has rapidly increased to more than $1 billion in recent years. The challenges posed by this costly cycle of recidivism have been central to the Institute’s Prisoner Reentry initiative. For urban areas like Newark, Camden, and Trenton, prisoner reentry is about more than criminal justice. It is a fundamental community development issue.
Our work in this area over the past nine years has grown out of the recommendations of the New Jersey Reentry Roundtable, focusing on helping the state address the challenge of prisoner reentry in New Jersey. A year-long effort co-sponsored with the New Jersey Public Policy Research Institute, the Roundtable brought together leaders from state government and the judiciary, civic and faith-based organizations, academia, formerly incarcerated people, social service providers and victims’ advocates to assess the dimensions of the challenge and develop sound and strategic policy as well as programmatic responses for government, the private sector and local communities.
The Roundtable’s final report, Coming Home for Good: Meeting the Challenge of Prisoner Reentry in New Jersey, has provided a blueprint for policy change in the state and guides the Institute’s on-going advocacy.
Some of the ongoing efforts the Institute has engaged in are:
- Second Chance Campaign of New Jersey – The Second Chance Campaign of New Jersey focuses on removing the barriers to productive citizenship for those returning home after incarceration. The Campaign focuses on reentry during the initial phases of incarceration, managing the transition, supporting neighborhoods and families, and tracking relevant reentry legislation. more»
- Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions – Individuals convicted of crimes in New Jersey are subject to a range of criminal sanctions, from probation and fines to incarceration and parole supervision. What is less understood are the civil penalties that are also imposed as the result of criminal convictions, penalties that restrict future employment, civil rights, immigration status, housing, education, voting, parental rights, public benefits, the ability to pay child support arrears and even keep a driver’s license. more»