Could Changes to NJ Criminal Justice System be Coming?

Decreased Prison SentencesIn Washington, there has been a change in the conversation about the criminal justice system in the United States. More politicians seem to be pushing for less incarceration for non-violent crimes. Could this be the beginning of a change to the criminal justice system that affects criminal law in New Jersey? Maybe, but U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D, NJ), who met with politicians at the White House on Tuesday, thinks it will take some time.

“I leave this meeting incredibly encouraged,” Booker told reporters after meeting with President Obama and 16 members of Congress. But, “This is going to take some time,” he said.

The politicians discussed ideas for reducing mandatory minimum sentencing, drug treatment programs instead of incarceration and erasing criminal records of nonviolent offenders in order for them to obtain employment more easily.

Politicians like Booker have been discussing changes like this to the NJ criminal justice system for years, but justice reform has taken center stage after singer John Legend discussed it at the Oscars last week.

We know that right now the struggle for freedom and justice is real — we live in the most incarcerated country in the world,” Legend said after he and Common received the Oscar for their song “Glory” from the movie “Selma.” “There are more black men under correctional control today than were under slavery in 1850. When people are marching with our song we want to tell you we are with you we see you we love you and march on.”

According to, there has been a 61 percent increase in incarceration since 1990 with a total of 1.575 million people behind bars as of 2013. More than half of these incarcerations are drug related. In New Jersey, there were 22,452 people in the state prison system.

Under the current system, non-violent drug crimes can lead to serious prison time. If you are in need of a criminal defense lawyer, contact Villani & DeLuca today. You can reach a representative at Villani & DeLuca 24 hours a day by calling 888-389-9533.