(TRENTON) – The General Assembly on Thursday approved legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson, Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Pamela Lampitt and Gabriela Mosquera to combat domestic violence by expanding protections for victims. The bill passed the house 67-0.
The bill (A-1677) establishes a program, known as the “supervised community reintegration program,” to facilitate the reintegration of certain domestic violence victims back into the community. To qualify for the program, an inmate, who has committed a crime against their abuser, must be found to present a low risk of re-offense.
“This program is designed to assist individuals who have been convicted and incarcerated for committing crimes against their abusers,” said Johnson (D-Bergen). “Making sure they’re supervised enhances protections for victims, while also helping to lead them down the right path to reintegration.”
“Inmates selected for the program will have a strategic reentry plan laid out for them that they must follow so they’re not thrown back out on the street without any guidance for corrective action,” said Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen). “Hopefully this will help decrease the chances for repeat offenses.”
“For somebody who may have grown up around domestic violence their whole life, prison might not be enough to change this pattern of behavior,” said Lampitt (D-Camden/Burlington). “Laying out a reentry plan tailored to their circumstances is a smart approach to help break the cycle of abuse.”
“We must do more to break the cycle of domestic violence and abuse in our communities,” said Mosquera (D-Camden/Gloucester). “With this legislation, we give victims who have committed a crime against their abuser the tools they need to put the abuse behind them and live violence-free lives.”
The bill was approved by the Assembly Women and Children Committee in September. Complement legislation was approved by the full Senate in October.
The legislation will now head to the Governor’s desk for further consideration.