New Jersey Governor Murphy recently signed three criminal justice bills. These are all focused on sentencing reform, stemming from the recommendations made by the Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission’s November 2019 report. The bills were signed in order to establish a compassionate release program for inmates diagnosed with a “grave medical condition,” add a defendant’s young age to a list of considered factors during sentencing, and require a cost savings study of compassionate release programs and the elimination of mandatory minimums. Continue reading below to learn more.
What are the Three Bills?
The following are the bills signed by Governor Murphy:
- Bill A2370 repeals the state’s existing medical parole statue and replaces it with “compassionate release.” This allows inmates to be released from prison if they suffer from a terminal medical condition or permanent physical incapacity. The inmate’s attorney must be notified when a client is diagnosed with a “grave medical condition” so they can petition for compassionate release.
- Bill A4373 allows a court to consider a person’s age as a factor when they are determining a sentence. This is in place for those who are under the age of 26 at the time the offense was committed.
- Bill 4371 requires the DOC and the Treasury and the State Parole Board to conduct an annual cost savings study of compassionate release programs and mandatory minimum reforms. The sentencing commission anticipates reforms would generate cost savings over time. These would be deposited into a newly created “Corrections Rehabilitation and Crime Prevention Fund” to support recidivism reduction programs and other programs to support inmates as they reenter society.
When discussing the signings of these bills, Governor Murphy stated, “Our administration has been committed to criminal justice reform since day one, and we have taken many steps to address the wide disparities present in our justice system.”
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