The New Jersey SAFE Taskforce Builds On Governor Christie’s Record Of Taking A Comprehensive Approach To Addressing Violence, Addiction And Mental Health Issues
CURBING GUN VIOLENCE IN NEW JERSEY
Governor Christie Is Committed To “Strictly Enforcing” New Jersey’s Gun Laws, “Which Are Some Of The Most Aggressive In The Country.” (Press Conference, 7/31/12)
- The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence Ranked New Jersey’s Gun Laws The Second Strongest In The Nation Behind Only California. (Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence, “Brady 2011 State Scorecards: New Jersey,” Accessed: 1/17/13)
- The Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence Gives New Jersey An “A-” For 2012, Tied For The Highest Grade They Awarded. (“New Jersey State Law Summary,” The Law Center To Prevent Gun Violence, 11/14/12)
New Jersey Is Leading The Nation In Gun Safety:
The state imposes a 7-day waiting period prior to the purchase of any firearm.
- Individuals convicted of certain misdemeanor offenses, such as misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms.
- New Jersey requires the licensing of all firearms dealers and their employees and requires them to maintain records of all sales of firearms and ammunition.
Reforming Bail Laws To Keep Violent Offenders In Jail While Awaiting Trial: Governor Christie has proposed a constitutional amendment modifying the rules governing the right to bail in New Jersey. The move, which parallels the federal system, aims to provide our courts with the ability to keep dangerous offenders in jail and off community streets until trial, enhancing the integrity and effectiveness of the criminal justice system in New Jersey and preventing additional, senseless acts of violence before they occur. (Office of Governor Chris Christie, Press Release, 2/14/12)
Focusing Resources On Tracking Weapons: Under the Christie Administration, the Attorney General’s Office has established the Weapons Trafficking Bureau within the Department of Law and Public Safety, and the State Police have “more than doubled the number of detectives assigned specifically to weapons trafficking.” (Office of The Attorney General, Press Release, 5/10/12)
- In May 2012, Attorney General Chiesa also announced a new initiative to “aggressively target gun violence in New Jersey through strategic investigations focused on seizing existing weapons in violent areas, disrupting the supply-chain of weapons trafficking into those areas, and aggressively prosecuting criminals involved in the illegal sale and possession of weapons.” (Office of The Attorney General, Press Release, 5/10/12)
- Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police Colonel Rick Fuentes: “Taking these guns off the streets of our cities – especially shared community guns that so many people can access – is saving lives and making New Jersey safer … We are very proud of the impact that this group of dedicated detectives has had on crime.”
Repealing Mandatory Early Release Legislation, And Restoring Parole Board Discretion: Governor Chris Christie took action to protect the public safety of New Jerseyans and provide needed reform to state law governing New Jersey’s Parole Board with a conditional veto of Senate Bill 2308. (Office of Governor Christie Christie, Press Release, 3/20/11)
Passaic River Corridor Initiative: As part of the Christie Administration’s focus on illegal weapons, the Attorney General’s office created the Passaic River corridor initiative to “to prevent violence, solve crimes and seize guns by sharing intelligence about crime patterns and about criminals who operate across jurisdictional lines along a broad corridor extending from Newark to Paterson.” (Office of The Attorney General, Press Release, 12/5/12)
- Within the first eight months of the initiative “405 arrests have been made and 76 guns have been seized.”
- The Passaic River Corridor (PRC) Initiative involves: The New Jersey State Police; The Division of Criminal Justice; The New Jersey State Parole Board; The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; The FBI; The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; The County Prosecutors’ Offices in Essex, Bergen, Passaic and Hudson counties; and 18 area Police Departments.
“Guns For Cash” Buyback Initiative: Working with local law enforcement officials and the faith-based community, the Department of Law and Public Safety conducted a successful gun buyback program in Camden, and has already scheduled a follow-up event in Trenton. (Office of The Attorney General, “Attorney General Chiesa Announces Record Number Of Weapons Obtained Through Gun Buyback Initiative In Camden County,” Press Release, 12/18/12)
- In a two-day “Guns For Cash” Buyback in Camden, the state purchased 1,137 weapons. (Christopher Baxter, “Camden County Gun Buyback Is Most Successful In N.J. History, A.G. Says,” Star-Ledger, 12/18/12)
Focusing On Dismantling Major Crime Networks: The Attorney General's Office has partnered with state, county, local and federal law enforcement agencies to conduct long-term, intelligence-driven investigations to dismantle major drug networks that are bringing violence to New Jersey's cities:
PROVIDING SUPPORT FOR NEW JERSEYANS DEALING WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
Governor Christie is committed to helping New Jerseyans facing mental health issues receive the attention and care they need. The Governor’s budget has consistently followed through on that commitment through enhanced funding to support community programs and services.
Dedicating Additional Resources For Individuals Living With Mental Illness: The Christie Administration is committed to ensuring individuals with mental illness have access to appropriate placements and services. The closure of Hagedorn Psychiatric Hospital on June 30 2012 enabled the Christie Administration to provide new community housing and additional community services.
- Governor Christie’s fiscal year 2013 budget reinvests savings from the closure, providing an additional $5.6 million to the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services to fund:
- 133 new units of supportive housing;
- Rental assistance for 100 individuals utilizing mental health or substance abuse services;
- Expanded psychiatric services for patients in the community; and
- Expanded supportive employment program capacity.
- In addition, diversion programs offering treatment, stabilization and referral services will become available for an additional 400 clients; and
- Governor Christie’s fiscal year 2013 budget also provides $5 million in new funding for the Department of Human Services to fund 245 new community placements for persons diagnosed with mental illness who could be discharged from or would otherwise be committed to a State psychiatric hospital.
Expanding Access To Mental Health Support: Family Success Centers are community-based grassroots organizations that provide services ranging from basic needs like day care and parenting classes, to more complex needs such as accessing mental health support, domestic violence prevention and substance abuse services.
- Governor Christie increased funding to $9.7 million in State funds along with $2.5 million in federal funds. The number of Family Success Centers in New Jersey will increase from 42 to 50.
Increasing Funding For 24-Hour Mobile Response: Mobile Response and Stabilization Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help children and youth who are experiencing emotional or behavioral crises. The services are designed to defuse an immediate crisis, keep children and their families’ safe, and maintain the children in their own homes or current living situation (such as a foster home, treatment home or group home) in the community.
- The Christie Administration increased funding by $3.6 million over fiscal year 2012 to a total of $15 million in fiscal year 2013.
Providing Young People With Needed Help: The NJ 2NDFLOOR Youth Helpline is a statewide, 24-hour interactive telephone line for youth and young adults (ages 10-24), staffed by counseling professionals and specially trained volunteers. The overall goal is to promote healthy youth development by providing immediate interactive, respectful professional helpline services with linkage to information and services that address the social and health needs of youth.
- Governor Christie’s fiscal year 2013 budget protected funding for NJ 2NDFLOOR at $791,000.
Providing Care for Adolescent Treatment Services: The current children’s system of care will be broadened to also provide an integrated approach to services for adolescents with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. The State has aligned all mental health services for adults under Department of Human Services and children under the Department of Children and Families.
RECLAIMING LIVES THROUGH DRUG REHABILITATION AND A FOCUS ON REDUCING RECIDIVISM
Expanding The Drug Court Program For Non-Violent Offenders: Governor Christie firmly believes that no life is disposable and has proposed expanding the drug court program for non-violent drug offenders, because everyone deserves a second chance. Through his Fiscal Year 2013 budget, Governor Christie has provided an additional $2.5 million in funding. The drug court program will be expanded to incorporate a mandatory component in all 21 counties over the next five years.
The Governor’s Task Force for Recidivism Reduction: Governor Christie has outlined a cross-departmental administration initiative to help even more offenders get the support they need to successfully re-enter society, break the cycle of criminality and lead productive lives. To address the current lack of coordination among the many treatment and re-entry programs across State government, Governor Christie signed Executive Order 83, creating the Governor’s Task Force for Recidivism Reduction.