“We share collective disappointment after reviewing the proposed 9-month budget and recognize the disastrous consequences it will have on the long-term future of reentry programs in New Jersey.
If enacted as proposed, this budget will result in the immediate closure of Millicent Fenwick House (Paterson, NJ) and Garrett House (Camden, NJ), the ONLY two women’s community release programs that provide substance use disorder treatment in the state of New Jersey. With more than 35% of all of Governor Murphy’s proposed funding cuts to the Department of Corrections falling directly on community correction programs, these cuts will undoubtedly and disproportionately impact programs provided to women.
Community release programs are critical to addressing the complex needs of women. These programs have been a model for success throughout the nation – providing evidence-based treatment to those who are incarcerated and aiding in their successful reintegration back into society.
In New Jersey, we have seen a reduction in the state’s prison population by nearly 40 percent, much in part due to the dedicated, hard work of providers like ourselves in assisting this population and the proven effectiveness of our state’s residential community release programs, which are making a real difference and changing lives.
As a state proclaiming to be a leader in criminal justice and prison reform across the nation, New Jersey cannot afford to backslide – we are known for our progressive policies and have proven, time and time again, the need for the proper assistance and support to these at-risk populations. No one should be ignored or left without access to the support they need to rebuild their lives after incarceration.
We urge the Governor and Legislature to reconsider their proposed 9-month budget. As it stands right now, this budget WILL lead to the drastic reduction and elimination of services provided to some of society’s most vulnerable individuals.”
Angel M. Perez, Executive Director, New Jersey Association on Correction
Daniel L. Lombardo, President, and CEO, Volunteers of America Delaware Valley
***Mr. Perez and Mr. Lombardo represent two agencies that have combined experience of 90 years in serving those returning to society from the criminal justice system.***
Additional FY 2021 Budget Background:
$77.46 million in total cuts to the Department of Corrections
$27.72 million was cut from Community Corrections Programs
Single largest cut within the Department of Corrections
Community Corrections programs account for 35.8% of the entire Corrections budget reduction
$1,044,455 – Total Department Budget (in thousands)
$46.5 million – Total Reduction, year over year
4.26% total reduction, year over year
Governor Murphy’s comments on Corrections in FY 2021 Budget Address
“We will continue re-evaluating our priorities and our approach to corrections and criminal justice, and take a scalpel to our budget for prisons to make investments that will allow us to get more people working outside of prison than inside.”
About the New Jersey Association on Correction (NJAC):
Established in 1961, New Jersey Association on Correction (NJAC) is a private not-for-profit organization with programs serving Camden, Mercer, Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, Essex, and Passaic counties. Among NJAC’s clients are survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, women at risk of separation from their children due to child abuse and/or neglect, women in recovery and their children, people at risk for and living with HIV/AIDS, and adult offenders. To learn more, visit www.njaconline.org.
About Volunteers of America Delaware Valley (VOADV):
VOADV is a local affiliate of the national, non-profit organization, Volunteers of America, and provides essential services to our community’s most vulnerable individuals. Each year, VOADV serves more than 13,000 individuals throughout the southern New Jersey and Philadelphia region and operates more than 40 high quality, outcome-driven assistance programs – from homelessness, reentry, veterans assistance, and affordable housing services to specialized programs for individuals with addiction, traumatic brain injury and/or intellectual disabilities. To learn more, visit www.voadv.org.