Mandatory drug treatment may be on the way for New Jersey non-violent drug offenders if Gov. Chris Christie’s new initiative goes into effect, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported.
Christie said he hopes to expand the state’s drug court program, which would give an alternative to prison for non-violent addicts. In moving forward with this initiative — which he hopes to get up and running in one year — Christie said it is a public acknowledgement by him that addiction is a treatable disease.
“… We should take the time and the money to treat (it),” he told The Star-Ledger.
In the governor’s budget proposal, $2.5 million was set aside for the program, but he noted that it will probably end up costing more money. But in the long run, since most of those funds would probably be moved from the Department of Corrections (some inmates would be moved out of prison into the program) it will help financially. Private drug treatment programs would cost roughly half the amount of money for offenders to be held at the Department of Corrections, Christie said.
He added that the financial boost he foresees is not the only reason to implement the program, however. He said it will also make “us a better society.”