STATE OF NEW JERSEY
PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2020 SESSION
Senator SHIRLEY K. TURNER
District 15 (Hunterdon and Mercer)
Requires Division of Parole to offer parole services to certain defendants who have served their maximum sentence.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.
An Act concerning defendants who serve their maximum sentence and supplementing P.L.1979, c.441.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, a defendant who has served the maximum term of imprisonment shall, upon request, be offered the same assistance available to a defendant released on parole pursuant to the procedures and standards set forth in section 15 of P.L.1979, c.441 (C.30:4-123.59).
b. The Commissioner of Corrections shall advise a defendant who has served the maximum term of imprisonment of the assistance to which the defendant is entitled pursuant to subsection a. of this section prior to the defendant’s release from incarceration and provide contact information necessary to access available resources.
c. The State Parole Board shall include in its annual report the number of defendants who request services pursuant to subsection a. of this section, a summary of the particular assistance received, and the recidivism rates of these defendants.
2. This act shall take effect on the first day of the fourth month after enactment.
This bill requires the Division of Parole to offer the same post-release services to defendants who have served the maximum term of incarceration that are provided to defendants who are released on parole. Under the bill, these services are to be provided upon the request of the defendant. The bill directs the Commissioner of Corrections to advise these defendants of the availability of these services and to provide the defendant with the appropriate contact information.
The bill also requires the State Parole Board to include in its annual report the number of defendants who request post-release services pursuant to the provisions of this bill, a summary of the particular assistance received, and the recidivism rates of these defendants.
Under current law, defendants incarcerated in a State correctional facility who do not participate in their own rehabilitation while incarcerated, or who have been denied release under the regular parole process, effectively serve the maximum sentence of imprisonment. These inmates, commonly referred to as “max-outs,” subsequently are released directly into the community without any supervision or transitional services. Twice as many defendants max-out as are released on parole. Defendants who max-out are not provided services that are available to parolees, such as access to residential community release programs, known as halfway houses; drug treatment programs; residential programs; community resource centers; emergency housing placement; and other basic support services. Studies indicate that parolees are less likely to recidivate than max-outs because of the supervision they receive after release.