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(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-Mercer) released the following statement on Monday:

“While I accept this vote, I am very concerned that we’ve taken a step backward in our attempts to combat recidivism and its terrible cost to lives and to the taxpayers.
“The early release program was a way to provide supervision to inmates who otherwise would have freely walked out of prison without the help needed to live a life free of crime. No one could have predicted nonviolent inmates would suddenly engage in violent acts. We mourn those who were lost, but we should also celebrate those who used this program to turn their lives around.
“Taking away this supervision will now do nothing more than feed the awful cycle of recidivism that costs taxpayers to the tune of $50,000 per year per inmate.
“It’s imperative that the rest of this anti-recidivism program – built over hours of hearings and testimony from hundreds of New Jerseyans – be implemented. We cannot afford to continue this destructive cycle that destroys lives and costs taxpayers.
“Finally, the debate over this episode has been extremely unfortunate. As the sponsor of this legislation, I’ve always been more than ready to debate its merits, but could have never foreseen the classless depth to which the debate sunk. Real leaders find a way to discuss issues like grown adults. Those who lack common decency resort to name-calling and blame.”