Former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey says he’s not sure why Governor Murphy’s proposed budget does not include money for the program he runs that helps former inmates get the documents and services they need to become productive citizens.
McGreevey told the Assembly Budget Committee he’s asking for $5 million to maintain and expand the program.
“We’re in the business of healing broken people, building families, and developing community. Some would state that reentry, we can’t afford it. I would say it’s a need not a want. We can’t afford not to do it.”
McGreevey says the state provided $4 million for the program last year.
“Our expenses per person are $2200. That’s in marked contrast to the cost of incarceration, upwards past $55,000 a year.”
Assemblyman John Burzichelli says the program seems to be effective and cost efficient and expects lawmakers will put some money for it back into the budget.
“I would suspect it’ll be restored. Now will it be fully restored or restored to the number that’s been requested? That remains to be seen. But the need is very clear and this is a good investment for us. It’s cheaper for us to help these people than to have them sit back in a prison somewhere.
Lawmakers have until the end of June to revise and pass the budget. The Governor could reject any changes they make.