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Singleton Bill Providing Shot at Early Parole for Certain Non-Violent Offenders Approved by Assembly Panel

Bill is Part of Lawmaker’s Broader Criminal Justice Reform Package

Legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Troy Singleton to provide certain non-violent offenders with the opportunity for early parole was approved by an Assembly panel on Thursday.

The bill (A-4243), which is part of a broad package of criminal justice reforms Singleton has sponsored, would establish a six-year alternative parole eligibility pilot program to provide early parole eligibility for certain non-violent offenders.

“Experts from all across the political and criminal justice spectrum agree that the current system benefits no one – not those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds who are disproportionately incarcerated, not the communities held hostage by the cycle of recidivism, and not the law-abiding taxpayers who are forced to shoulder the cost of the highest incarceration rate in the developed world,” said Singleton (D-Burlington).

“Giving non-violent offenders a second chance to get back out into the world sooner will provide hope and a greater incentive for them to remain on the straight and narrow and become productive members of society,” added Singleton.

Under the provisions of the bill, eligible offenders would be granted parole after serving 85 percent of the time required by current law to reach primary parole eligibility. The bill defines an eligible offender as one who:

– has not been previously convicted of, adjudicated delinquent for, or is not currently serving a sentence imposed for any crime under the “No Early Release Act,” or any sex crime enumerated in state law;

– is not a sexually violent predator as defined under state law;

– has not committed certain prohibited acts during the current period of incarceration; and

– has completed required rehabilitation and recidivism reduction programs.

The bill further specifies that prior to the grant of parole, crime victims are to be notified as required by law.

The measure was approved by the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.