Governor Chris Christie gave the key note address at the Republican convention. Many of the pundits were not happy with his speech which was a recitation of his life and accomplishments. By now, we all are aware that the Governor was an aggressive United States Attorney for the state of New Jersey. What do we know about his views regarding prisons and inmates in New Jersey?
Governor Christie is one of several conservative Republican governors who has advocated prison reform as a way to save tax dollars. In July, he was instrumental in passing bipartisan legislation mandating drug treatment instead of incarceration for non-violent offenders. He has made it clear that drug treatment and not jail sentences is the path for reduction of crime. If you reduce crime, then the state can reduce the ever growing crowded prison system. Everyone should agree that mandatory drug treatment is a positive step implemented by Governor Christie in New Jersey. In the end, successful drug treatment can help reduce the prison population and the state’s deficit.
On the other hand, the New York Times, has conducted an investigation titled, Halfway House Help, of New Jersey’s program for halfway houses. The articles describe in detail the horrors of this system. According to the Times investigation, the violent criminals are not controlled and the meek offenders are at the mercy of other inmates. The half way houses are managed by private companies. Governor Christie was the lobbyist for Community Education Centers, the biggest company in charge of halfway houses in New Jersey.
Only time will tell if Governor Christie is a true leader for prison reform.