ASSEMBLY JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

ASSEMBLY, No. 2619

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  JUNE 6, 2016

 

      The Assembly Judiciary Committee reports favorably Assembly Bill No. 2619.

      This bill provides that an inmate in a State correctional facility who is otherwise eligible for drug treatment cannot be denied access to a drug treatment program operating in a State correctional facility based solely on that inmate having any detainer or open charge issued against him.

      In order to participate in the drug treatment available as part of the residential community release program, the mutual assistance program, or the therapeutic community substance abuse disorder treatment program, an inmate is required to meet certain eligibility criteria pursuant to regulations of the Commissioner of Corrections.

      One of the requirements is that an inmate be classified at “full minimum custody status.”  An inmate is excluded from “full minimum custody status” if he has any detainers or open charges, from any jurisdiction, issued against him.  While detainers and open charges are sometimes disposed of while a person is incarcerated, inmates are often unsuccessful in having these matters resolved. As a result, they are barred from receiving drug treatment during the terms of their custodial sentences.

      The purpose of this bill is to allow an inmate in need of drug treatment to have access to it, regardless of any detainer or open charge, provided he is otherwise eligible and the treatment is available. Under the bill, an inmate with a detainer or open charge would only be eligible for drug treatment programs which operate in State correctional facilities.