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In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order No. 124, providing the NJDOC with the authority to grant temporary emergency home medical confinement to certain at-risk inmates who have not committed a serious offense. Approximately 3,000 individuals met the criteria for consideration that includes individuals aged 60 years older; individuals with high-risk medical conditions, based on CDC COVID-19 guidance; individuals who will complete their sentences within the next three months; and individuals who were denied parole within the last year. Cases are individually assessed by an Emergency Medical Review Committee. Governor Phil Murphy also signed a first-in-the nation bill reducing sentences in a prison system with the highest coronavirus death rate in the country — a move that will release at least 2,000 inmates beginning in November. The law (S2519) means the first wave of releases will happen the day after Election Day. About 2,088 people are expected to be freed Nov. 4, according to an estimate from the governor’s office - LEARN MORE
A record of arrest or conviction can haunt a person forever. It can create barriers to employment, housing, education, and other pursuits. Many people can solve this problem if they are eligible to clear (expunge) their criminal record. New Jersey law provides a limited right to expungement. The primary purpose of New Jersey’s expungement law is to provide a fresh start to those who have only a few convictions or have demonstrated their rehabilitation. The law also provides for the expungement of dismissed cases, juvenile offenses, and certain victims’ convictions. Some records, cannot be expunged, such as out-of-state arrests or convictions, most motor vehicle-related offenses, and very serious crimes. LEARN MORE
You can register to vote if…
You are a U.S. citizen living in New Jersey
You are at least 18 years old.
You have been living in your present county for at least 30 days before the election.
You are not in prison, on probation or on parole for a felony conviction.
NOTE: If you’re serving time for a misdemeanor or civil matter you can still vote. You have the right to register and to vote from jail using a mail-in ballot. To register, your application must be received at least 21 days before the election. Already registered before your conviction? You must register again upon release. Your right to vote is restored once you complete your sentence, parole and probation. You also must register again when you change addresses. Send a change-of-address card to your county registration office when moving within New Jersey. You will have to show ID when registering in a new county, either by mail or at the polls on Election Day. LEARN MORE
The New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform Act took effect January 1, 2017, essentially eliminating money bail in the state. The new system begins with the assumption that innocent people should not be in jail. People can be held only if their release poses an unacceptable flight risk or poses a danger to their community. All defendants, other than those facing life imprisonment, are now entitled to a presumption of release. To detain a defendant, a prosecutor must convince a judge that no conditions could protect the public or ensure that the defendant will return to court. Defendants at these hearings, represented by attorneys, receive the information that informs the state’s case, and they can call and cross examine witnesses. The system relies on a public-safety assessment (PSA), a tool that allows the judge to make a reasoned decision about detention or release. Designed by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the PSA is currently in use by about 40 jurisdictions. LEARN MORE
SECOND CHANCE ACT
The Second Chance Act (SCA) supports state, local, and tribal governments and nonprofit organizations in their work to reduce recidivism and improve outcomes for people returning from state and federal prisons, local jails, and juvenile facilities. Passed with bipartisan support and signed into law on April 9, 2008, SCA legislation authorizes federal grants for vital programs and systems reform aimed at improving the reentry process. LEARN MORE