Gary Meyer has been offered the CEO position at a law firm, as well as the opportunity to manage a hedge fund, but his drug arrest from 24 years ago prevented either scenario from coming to fruition – leading him to tell his story at the 3rd annual Prisoner Reentry Conference in Jersey City this morning.
Ex-Gov. Jim McGreevey, now the executive director of the Jersey City Employment and Training Program, kicked off the discussion by asking Andrew Napolitano – who sat in the bench in both Hackensack and Freehold before retiring – where he sees reentry, as a nation, progressing in the next 10 years.
Next, Rev. Al Sharpton was posed with the question of what is the best way to put as much emphasis on reintegrating offenders back into society as there is on putting them in jail.
Napolitano later argued that once somebody serves their time they should not have to face any further ostracizing from society, also stating that the prisoner reentry program in Jersey City could be the model program in the United States.
Furthermore, Sharpton spoke from personal experience about how difficult it was growing up in a single parent home, indicating that in some instances, the criminal justice system can ruin families.
During the question and answer session, Gary Meyer said he was tired with the rhetoric and wanted to see action – as his criminal record has prevented him from taking his professional career to the next level.
He revealed that he was arrested for selling drugs in 1992, the result of a gambling addiction that spiraled out of control, before being released in 1994 and starting a gambling help hotline.
Despite eventually graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in the top five percent of his class, being fluent in four languages and owning his own tech company, Meyer remains frustrated by the fact that his arrest from 24 years ago still comes back to haunt him.
McGreevey resigned in disgrace in August 2004, announcing he was “a gay American” and was resigning after having an affair with another man, who was later revealed to be on his staff. He has been waging a comeback of sorts through the JCETP.
The Prisoner Reentry Conference was once again hosted at St. Peter’s University’s Mac Mahon Student Center, where ex-Gov. Jim Florio (D), Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-31) state Senator/Union City Mayor Brian Stack (D-33), state Senator Sandra Cunningham (D-31), Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and countless other officials join hundreds in attending the event.