Gov. Chris Christie (R) revealed that prisoners with minor crimes can be released without posting bail as part of his bail reform, as well as stating that expungement laws for non-violent offenders could be tweaked between now and June.
â€œLetâ€™s give the judge the opportunity to be able to let that person go on their on recognizance without any cash and set up a monitoring system and keep an eye on that person,” Christie said today while on stage with ex-Gov. Jim McGreevey (D) at his 3rd annual Prisoner Reentry Conference.
Christieâ€™s administration has been a strong supporter of prisoner reentry services and intends to keep only dangerous criminals behind bars.
On the flip side of the bail reform, Christie stated â€œthose who have long rap sheets of violent crimes, those people should not get bail.â€
Christie also stressed that a successful reentry would mean that â€œpeople will have to get to work.â€
He pointed out the success of AeroFarms in Newark, not only the success of the corporation, but also for one third of their employees having a criminal history and others who had â€œproblems with the law and have a record.â€
As for expungement, he intends to mitigate this process.
â€œIâ€™m ready to do it, I think this is something that could be done between now and June.â€
State Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-33) introduced such a bill, which Christie conditionally vetoed in January. The two are scheduled to meet in hopes of reaching a compromise.
The governor’s timing appears to be impeccable, given the struggles one non-violent drug offender at the conference revealed – all as a result of a 24-year-old drug arrest.
Gary Meyer voiced his displeasure with the criminal justice system, specifically being unable to get his record expunged, just hours earlier at St. Peter’s University’s Mac Mahon Student Center.
Christie also mentioned that as part of the reentry program and the â€œroad to recovery,â€ Mid-State Correctional Facility is being renovated and will reopen as a fully certified drug treatment facility.
There will be 700 bends to treat prisoner patients upon completion of their last year of sentence
McGreevey, now the executive director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program, thanked the governor and his administration for the work he has done to support the prisoner reentry process at the 3rd Annual Prisoner Reentry Conference, held at St. Peterâ€™s University.
He also wanted to recognize Christieâ€™s work on waiving the 28-day prohibition on accessing welfare and general assistance for prisoners who are part of the Employment and Training program.
â€œThis is not a game of gotcha,â€ explains Christie.
â€œWe are not looking to get people in trouble, we are looking to get them out of trouble and get them back on the road to recovery and to responsible citizenship.”
Christie admitted that â€œgovernment may not always know what is going onâ€ but jokingly insisted that if his administration is not doing something that they should be doing to â€œtell McGreevey, he has my number.â€