SENATE LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

ASSEMBLY, No. 2619

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  NOVEMBER 10, 2016

 

      The Senate Law and Public Safety Committee reports favorably Assembly Bill No. 2619.

      As reported by the committee, 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 operated in a State correctional facility solely based on a detainer or open charge issued against that inmate. 

      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 Department of Corrections’ regulations. 

      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 there are any detainers or open charges, from any jurisdiction, issued against the inmate.  While detainers and open charges may be disposed of while the inmate is incarcerated, inmates often are unsuccessful in resolving these matters. Consequently, they are barred from receiving drug treatment during the terms of their custodial sentences. 

      According to the sponsor, 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 the inmate otherwise is 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 are operated in State correctional facilities. 

      As reported by the committee, Assembly Bill No. 2619 is identical to Senate Bill No. 2409, also reported by the committee on this same date.