Former NJ Gov. Jim McGreevey discusses the challenges inmates face upon their release and the importance of prison reform.
Source: Former NJ Gov McGreevey Tackles Prison Reform
Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey has found a new calling behind prison bars.
Just more than a decade after his resignation from the state’s top office, McGreevey, now an Episcospal Seminarian, spends his time preparing inmates for a life beyond a prison with the Jersey City Employment and Training Program.
The program provides drug treatment behind bars and follows them after their release because McGreevey says the current rehabilitation system isn’t working.
“We take first-time, second-time drug offenders, and we put them in hell, and then we have them there for an extended period of time where they’re learning all the worst lessons.” he told MetroFocus Host Jack Ford. “…and then they come out; there’s no housing. There’s no job. And there’s no continued addiction treatment.”
According to the Bureau of Justice, many prisoners continue to have run-ins with the law after they get out. Within only three years of being released, nearly 71 percent of felons are re-arrested, almost half are re-convicted and more than a quarter are re-imprisoned.
McGreevey says it is important to help New Jersey’s more than 17,000 inmates and the other hundreds of thousands across the country beat these odds not only for moral reasons, but also because of the financial implications.
“This one percent of the population is having such a deleterious impact on the entire community,” he said, citing the annual $74 billion taxpayer cost of corrections nationwide.