SENATE, No. 2920

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

214th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 2, 2011

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  JEFF VAN DREW

District 1 (Cape May, Atlantic and Cumberland)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Requires inmates serving “No Early Release Act” sentences be placed in State correctional institutions and prohibits their participation in Residential Community Release programs until they are eligible for parole.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act concerning certain inmates and amending P.L.1969, c.22 and P.L.1999, c.243.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.  Section 2 of P.L.1969, c.22 (C.30:4-91.2) is amended to read as follows:

     2.  [The] a.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection b. of this section, the commissioner or his duly authorized agent, may designate as a place of confinement any available, suitable, and appropriate institution or facility whether owned by the State or otherwise, and may at any time transfer a person from one place of confinement to another.

     The word “facility” shall include private nonprofit community-based residential treatment centers which provided for the care, custody, subsistence, education, training and welfare of inmates.

     Any such private nonprofit community-based residential treatment center must be certified annually by the commissioner as a secure and appropriately supervised place of confinement.

     b.  In the case of a person sentenced pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2), the place of confinement designated by the commissioner shall be a State correctional institution having no less than a medium security level rating.  A defendant placed pursuant to this subsection shall serve the entire term of his incarceration during which he is statutorily ineligible for parole under the provisions of section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2) in such a State correctional institution.

(cf:  P.L.1976, c.35, s.2)

 

     2. Section 1 of P.L.1999, c.243 (C.30:4-91.9) is amended to read:

     1.  As used in this act:  "Eligible inmate" means an inmate who (1) was not convicted of a sexual offense as defined in this section [or], an arson offense, or serving a sentence imposed pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2) during the term when that inmate is not eligible for parole, (2) does not demonstrate an undue risk to public safety and (3) has less than one year remaining to be served before the inmate's parole eligibility date, provided, however, that an eligible inmate may include an inmate who is otherwise eligible but who has more than one year but less than 18 months remaining to be served before the inmate's parole eligibility date and is determined by the Commissioner of Corrections or a designee to be appropriate to be authorized for confinement in a private facility; and further provided, however, that an eligible inmate may include an inmate who is otherwise eligible but who has more than one year but less than two years remaining to be served before the inmate's parole eligibility date and is determined by the Commissioner of Corrections or a designee to be appropriate to be authorized for confinement in a private facility for participation in a substance abuse treatment program.

     "Private facility" means a residential center, operated by a private nonprofit entity, contracted by the Department of Corrections to provide for the care, custody, subsistence, treatment, education, training or welfare of inmates sentenced to the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections.

     "Sexual offense" means a violation of 2C:14-2, 2C:14-3 or 2C:24-4, or of any other substantially equivalent provision contained in Title 2A of the New Jersey Statutes now repealed, conspiracy to commit any of these offenses or an attempt to commit any of these offenses.

(cf:  P.L.1999, c.243, s.1)

 

     3.  This act shall take effect on the first day of the second month following enactment.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would require the Commissioner of Corrections to confine all persons sentenced under section 2 of P.L.1997, c.117 (C.2C:43-7.2), the “No Early Release Act” (NERA),” in State correctional institutions that have at least a medium security level rating.  The bill further provides that these defendants must serve the entire term of their mandatory incarceration (the period during which they are statutorily ineligible for parole) in such a State correctional institution.

     This bill also stipulates that all inmates serving a NERA sentence are ineligible for placement in any Residential Community Release Program facilities or centers during the entire term of their mandatory incarceration.

     Currently, only inmates convicted of sexual offenses or arson are statutorily prohibited from participating in the Residential Community Release Program.

     Under the Residential Community Release Program, inmates who are within 18 months of parole or release and who pose no undue risk to the community are placed in assessment and treatment centers, halfway houses, or substance use disorder programs.  These programs and centers are operated by agencies and entities under contract with the Department of Corrections.  The agencies and entities provide comprehensive assessments of an inmate’s needs and risks, employment and educational activities and assistance, and alcohol and drug treatment programs.  Inmates who are candidates for the alcohol and drug treatment program are eligible when they are within 24 months of parole or release.