Quijano, Verrelli and Mukherji Bill to Expand Scope of Reentry Services and Benefits Currently Available Clears Assembly Judiciary Panel

(TRENTON) – Reentry programs are a critical component to a successful transition into society after prison for formerly incarcerated persons. Legislation, sponsored by Assembly members Annette Quijano (D-Hudson), Anthony Verrelli (D-Mercer, Hunterdon), and Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson), that would expand the scope of reentry services and benefits currently available to inmates released from incarceration in state and county correctional facilities was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee.

This measure is one of six legislative actions taken by the Assembly Judiciary Committee to address the concerns raised over the current culture and environment of New Jersey’s only women’s prison, Edna Mahan Correctional FacilityThe 6-bill package aims to improve transparency and training for corrections officers, accountability, and access to reentry programs for inmates to curb recidivism.

The bill (A-4785) would extend the provisions of the Fair Release and Reentry Act of 2009 to also include inmates being released from county correctional facilities to be provided with the same reentry services documents, information, and items as given to the inmates released from state facilities.

Assembly members Quijano, Verrelli, and Mukherji issued the following joint statement on the bill:

 “It is necessary to assist not only those inmates currently being released from correctional facilities to obtain housing, food, and other services, but also any additional inmates who may be released under new legislation or revised criminal sentencing laws. This legislation further extends current provisions to ensure more inmates throughout the state have access to resources, tools such as identification cards, help with applications to programs, and a stock of their prescriptions upon reentering society. The more prepared these residents are to make it on the outside, the less of a chance they will return to prison.”

The six bills reviewed by the Assembly Judiciary panel are the first of a two-part legislative package addressing the concerns at Edna Mahan. The Assembly Women and Children Committee will convene in June to review additional measures concerning Edna Mahan Correctional Facility.