The new statute also addresses a longstanding issue that prevented just-released prisoners from eligibility for General Assistance. It ensures that incarcerated individuals who participate in and complete drug treatment programs, which meet or substantially meet licensure requirements, are not denied eligibility for general public assistance benefits upon release from incarceration.
Governor Christie has long spoken of his firmly held belief that no life is disposable and everyone deserves a second chance through treatment if they haven’t committed a violent crime.Today’s bill signing is one of several initiatives the Governor has advocated to support the recovery of individuals battling addiction, continuing his commitment to fundamentally change the conversation and policies toward addiction and treatment.
Last year, Governor Christie followed through on his commitment to take a smarter and more effective approach in how the State treats drug-addicted offenders by signing into law two landmark, bipartisan bills that put in place a statewide, mandatory drug court program and provide legal protection to people trying to help a drug overdose victim.
And most recently, he announced the formal launch of a pilot program in Ocean and Monmouth counties that will train and equip police officers to administer the antidote Narcan to people experiencing an overdose of heroin or prescription narcotics.
Primary sponsors for A-2295/S-686 included Senators Raymond Lesniak and Nicholas Sacco, and Assemblymembers Vincent Prieto, Angelica Jimenez, Carmelo Garcia, Bonnie Watson-Coleman, and Raj Mukherji.