(TRENTON) – Following the recommendations by the New Jersey Criminal Sentencing and Disposition Commission (CSDC), legislation to eliminate mandatory minimum prison terms for certain nonviolent property and drug-related offenses such as shoplifting or distributing a controlled dangerous substance was approved Thursday by the full Assembly by a vote of 52-19-3.
The bill (A-4369) would also reduce the mandatory prison term for second degree robbery and second degree burglary from 85 percent to 50 percent of the sentence imposed.
The measure’s sponsors, Assembly Democrats Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex), Linda Carter (D-Middlesex, Somerset, Union) and Shanique Speight (D-Essex) released the following joint statement:
“Mandatory minimums have contributed to the staggering racial disparities in New Jersey’s prison system, along with the overall rise in the number of incarcerated people. In 1982, 11 percent of incarcerated individuals in New Jersey had mandatory minimum terms; in 2015, it was 74%. Today that number is likely higher. Even more troubling, people of color are 12 times more likely to be incarcerated than their white counterparts.
“This injustice needs to end. By eliminating mandatory minimums, we will reduce racial disparities and the number of people incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, as well as allow judges to consider special facts when assessing a case.
“Our goal is to truly ensure justice for all.”