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August 11, 2015
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Smart reforms to juvenile justice system signed into law

Smart reforms to New Jersey's juvenile justice system were signed into law by Governor Christie yesterday. The bipartisan legislation (S2003/A4299) limits the use of solitary confinement in juvenile facilities, revamps state law governing transfer of juveniles to adult criminal court for trial, requires due process before a juvenile can be transferred to an adult facility, and requires the collection of much needed data.  

Although juveniles should be held accountable for their actions, the goal of the juvenile justice system is to return these youth to their communities equipped with the skills they need to stay out of trouble and mature into productive adults. These reforms are a solid step in achieving this outcome.

New Jersey’s new legislation benefits its status as a model state in implementing the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI), a national project led by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which is focused on reducing the number of youth confined in county detention facilities. JDAI has also resulted in far fewer youth being committed to longer-term incarceration in the Juvenile Justice Commission’s facilities without risk to public safety.

The reforms signed into law by Governor Christie yesterday will continue to make New Jersey’s juvenile justice system smarter and safer.

For more details regarding the reforms, read the release from the NJ Juvenile Justice Coalition, of which ACNJ is a member. The coalition worked to ensure that this legislation is good for New Jersey youth.

Special Thanks
Many people worked hard to ensure that this legislation is a positive step forward for New Jersey youth.  ACNJ wants to thank Senator Nellie Pou for her leadership in working with all stakeholders to reach consensus on this legislation. The Assembly bill was also sponsored by Assembly Members Shavonda Sumter, Charles Mainor, Benjie Wimberly and Maria Rodriguez-Gregg.  

ACNJ wants to acknowledge the efforts of F. Lee Forrester, retired judge and new member of the ACNJ Board of Trustees, who helped build the support needed to assure passage of this important legislation and the efforts of Wendy Whitbeck from the Office of Legislative Services for her invaluable support throughout the process.

Thank Governor Christie and Senator Pou for their leadership.

Send your message to Gov. Christie.

Send your message to Sen. Pou.

Advocates for Children of New Jersey

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