O’Scanlon, DiMaso & Scharfenberger: Releasing Criminals Should Be ‘Absolute Last Resort’

Insider NJ's Jay Lassiter argues that while cannabis legalization in NJ is a long way away, expunging the records of people unfairly harmed by the war on drugs so that they can more meaningfully contribute to our shared society should be more important to lawmakers right now.

O’Scanlon, DiMaso & Scharfenberger: Releasing Criminals Should Be ‘Absolute Last Resort’

Senator Declan O’Scanlon, and Assemblymembers Serena DiMaso and Gerry Scharfenberger (all R-Monmouth) today issued a joint statement on the Governor’s decision to release almost 500 people from jail.

“Releasing these 500 prisoners into the general population when they were already safe from the public within jails is simply lunacy. While some of these individuals may have been serving a sentence for municipal court violations of a year or less, others were convicted of assault on a police officer, child endangerment, and domestic violence. Our county prosecutors had to protest a good number of the releases. That should never have happened in the first place.”

“Further, New Jersey’s prison population has understandably decreased in recent years due to the success of re-entry programs to aid with recidivism. The increase in drug court, bail reform, and re-entry programs has helped to assure that there are few people in prison who aren’t there for very good reasons. Due to the population decrease, we should be able to spread out prisoners to comply with social distancing. We should not be putting them back out into society and asking that they distance themselves. Releasing prisoners should be an absolute last resort and only in the instance that social distancing within the prison is impossible.”

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