New Jersey’s Juvenile Justice System: All about Rehabilitation

In continued effort to promote rehabilitation instead of incarceration, New Jersey has passed a bill facilitating the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders into a law on August 10, 2015. With deep, fundamental concerns of today’s youth, the assemblymen who sponsored this bill focused on the need for an overhaul of the previous processes in an effort to reduce the recidivism. This newly enacted law is meant to put a stop to a youth’s chances of reoffending. It has already been a notion for many juvenile court judges to promote rehabilitation sentences instead of basic prison sentence. The purpose of this law is not to make things easier on the offender, but to provide him or her with a chance to change. With access to counselors and addiction services, this statute looks to ensure that the juvenile receives the help he or she deserves in order to prevent further transgressions.

In addition to providing services geared toward rehabilitation, this law also limits the ability for juvenile cases to be held in adult criminal court. Even if the case is heard at that level, the statute provides that sentencing should occur in the juvenile court. The law states only those of 15 years or older who are charged with committing a particular serious offense can have their case heard in adult criminal court. This updates the previous statute which allowed juveniles 14 years or older with any offense to be heard in adult criminal court. The juvenile court’s- prime focus is to provide not just punishments for the offenses, but also rehabilitation—and this law ensures that focus will be maintained.

The new law also restricts the use of solitary confinement in the juvenile detention facilities, which has been found to cause severe detriment to any person sent there for any substantial amount of time. The new law limits its use to only when the youth poses a substantial and immediate risk of harm to others and the facility.

The Assemblymen who sponsored this bill are quoted expressing concern for juveniles’ futures and want to provide them a chance that they might not have otherwise. Also, in attempt to decrease the recidivism rate, these Assemblymen focus on rehabilitating juvenile offenders in hopes to decrease the prison population when these youth become adults. So this is not only a law to promote juvenile rehabilitation, but also to decrease the heavy costs of inmate upkeep. Providing rehabilitation can potentially eliminate a great deal of would-be adult offenders, thus potentially providing for lesser prison costs.

If your child is facing a criminal charge, it’s important to contact an attorney immediately. The court will not begin proceedings until the minor has legal representation. Make sure you get your child the help they need. Juvenile offenders deserve the change this law provides by focusing on rehabilitation and not straight punishment. The Law Office of Zapicchi & Liller provide the expertise and knowledge required to defend in juvenile cases and can help you and your matter. Call today for a free consultation at (609) 291-9500