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New Jersey Senate approves bill easing alternative sentencing for drug crimes


New Jersey is getting closer to making it easier for people convicted of drug crimes to get the help that they need. In February, we posted about the Governors desire to make it mandatory for people convicted of New Jersey drug crimes to go to drug treatment instead of prison. This would help solve the problem of repeat offenders and help them reintegrate into society.

Now, the New Jersey Senate has approved a bill authorizing a pilot program in two areas of New Jersey that would give judges more discretion in sentencing of drug crimes. This bill still needs to be passed by the Assembly and signed by Governor Christie, but it might be a good first step at taking a closer look on the effectiveness of sentencing for drug crimes.

Sometimes people who commit unlawful mistakes are not able to help themselves. A chemical dependency can cause people to do things they wouldn't normally do. No matter how many times a person is sentenced to prison, there might be a chemical dependency issue that needs to be addressed before they can stop their activity.

A bill that would allow people to deal with their dependency issues could help them rehabilitate and become a better functioning member of society. Sometimes, people who commit crimes aren't bad people looking to do harm, but they aren't able to control their body's chemical dependency. Breaking that cycle of dependency could benefit society as a whole, and help those who suffer from addiction prevent being put in prison.

Source: Courier Post, "N.J. state Senate approves drug court bill," Michael Symons, June 1, 2012

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