To improve rates of successful reentry and bolster community programs’ ability to meet the needs of New Jersey’s formerly incarcerated women, the Assembly Community Development and Affairs Committee cleared a measure on Monday to create the Commission on Reentry Services for Women.
Comprised of 15 members with expertise in women’s issues across the health, legal and labor fields among others, the Commission would be tasked to examine what barriers to successful reentry exist, assess delivery of services and identify areas needing improvement. Findings and recommendations would be issued in a final report.
Sponsors of the resolution (ACR-92), Assemblywomen Eliana Pintor Marin (D-Essex), Yvonne Lopez (D-Middlesex) and Annette Quijano (D-Union), issued the following joint statement:
“Collaboration between government and the reentry community has allowed New Jersey to make great strides in addressing the needs of those reentering society, and in helping them to do so successfully. However, incarcerated women face a host of barriers that are unique to them. We cannot expect to see successful community reentry if we take a one-size-fits all approach.
“While all individuals preparing to reenter society share many needs in common, including physical and mental healthcare, substance-abuse treatment, vocational and educational training, and community integration support, incarcerated women face a further layer of challenges that must be accounted for.
“The work of this commission would be to undertake a comprehensive examination of those needs and barriers so actionable recommendations can be made based upon its findings. In doing so, New Jersey could become a national model on supporting formerly incarcerated women’s successful reentry and transition back to normal life.”