Building on efforts to reform the State’s correctional facilities after ongoing systemic issues in the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, the Assembly unanimously passed Democrat-sponsored legislation on Monday to improve workforce skills training programs for New Jersey inmates.
This measure is one of five bills passed by the Assembly to enhance reporting, ensure accuracy and fairness in criminal investigations, and improve conditions in correctional facilities throughout the state.
Under the bill (A-5752), the Commissioner of Corrections would be required to appoint someone to administer, enhance and supplement the workforce skills training programming available to inmates in state correctional facilities. These programs help provide inmates with the skills they need to find legal employment upon their release from prison.
The workforce skills training development officer appointed by the Commissioner would determine each facility’s most successful workforce skills training program offerings and improve upon them, introduce new program offerings, and provide programming that is consistent with emerging industry and workforce needs.
Upon the bill’s passage, Assembly sponsors Gabriela Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester), Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), Angelica Jimenez (D-Bergen, Hudson) and Carol Murphy (D-Burlington) issued the following joint statement:
“One of the main goals of our criminal justice system should be to help rehabilitate the people within it. Studies have shown that vocational training helps drastically reduce recidivism by educating prisoners and preparing them to find employment upon their release. If we want to encourage inmates to become productive and law-abiding members of society, we must give them the tools they need to succeed. Improved workforce skills training programs in our prisons will help accomplish this goal by giving inmates greater opportunities to learn. Everyone deserves a second chance.”
The legislation now heads to the Senate.