Governor Signs Kean Bill to Ensure Fairness of NJ Criminal Justice System
The Governor today signed Senate Republican Leader Tom Kean’s bill requiring that data collection concerning the state’s criminal justice system is conducted in a consistent and uniform manner, and is easily accessible to the public.
The new law requires the Attorney General to collect, record, and analyze criminal justice data, including demographic statistics.
“Justice is the cornerstone of American democracy, and all New Jersey residents deserve equal protection under the law,” said Kean (R-21). “This will help elected officials and the public better evaluate how the law is being applied and enforced in New Jersey. It is imperative that we identify underlying issues within the system and find solutions as part of a concerted effort to assure that justice in New Jersey is blind and fair.”
Under the bill (A-1076/S-2638) signed today, the New Jersey Attorney General, in consultation with the Division of State Police, county prosecutors’ offices, Administrative Office of the Courts, and Department of Corrections, will establish a program to collect, record, and analyze data regarding defendants in this State who are age 18 or older at the time of the commission of an alleged offense.
This legislation enacts recommendations from the New Jersey Criminal Sentencing & Disposition Commission’s 2019 Annual Report.
“Work needs to be done to improve relations between police officers and the communities they serve,” added Kean. “The comprehensive collection of data is a vital step toward building public trust and confidence in the justice system.”
The data is to be collected from the time a defendant enters the State’s criminal justice system, by arrest, charge, or other action, through the final disposition of the defendant’s case. The data required includes the race, ethnicity, gender, and age of the defendant.