With the burden of certain juvenile delinquency fines exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and mandatory post-incarceration supervision posing undue health and safety risk, the full Assembly voted 46-26-1 on Monday passing legislation (A-4331) to accelerate the effective date of certain provisions of law (P.L.2019, c.363) enacted on January 20, 2020.
Under the bill, provisions of previously enacted law concerning the elimination of certain court-imposed fines and mandatory assessments, and imposition of discretionary rather than mandatory post-incarceration supervision, would take effect immediately.
The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly (D-Bergen Passaic), issued the following statement:
“Right now, those going through our justice system face particular vulnerability and risk of contracting COVID-19. This fact is no different for our youth who are in custody or under supervision, and often in detention for minor, non-violent infractions.
“To put the safety of our children first it is therefore critical to speed up the implementation of policies intending to protect against harsh juvenile sentencing, and to ensure greater priority for community-based rehabilitation and reintegration exists.
“Not only is it about health and safety, but it’s also about justice.”
The bill cleared the Senate 28-10. It now heads to the Governor’s desk.