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Former U.S. AG to testify on prison rehab reform
Written by HardNewsNJ staff   
Monday, 12 January 2009 10:23

TRENTON - Former U.S. Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach is expected to testify Wednesday when Assembly Majority Leader Bonnie Watson Coleman convenes another Second Chance hearing on improving education and training to help those released from prison avoid returning to crime. The hearing will be the fourth in a series the Majority Leader is holding across New Jersey to discuss prison rehabilitation reform.

The hearing will be from 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at  Eastside High School at 150 Park Place in Paterson.

Katzenbach was U.S. Attorney General from February 1965 to October 1966, then Under Secretary of State from 1966 to 1969. He has written and testified extensively on prison reform.

“We cannot expect to end the pervasive cycle of arrest, incarceration, release and re-incarceration if prison conditions don’t promote rehabilitation,” Watson Coleman said. “This insidious cycle has a terrible impact on our economy, our families and our communities and prison conditions must encourage reintegration into society.”

Assemblywoman Nellie Pou and Elease Evans (both D-Passaic) are also expected to attend.

“Once someone has served their time and paid their debt, we cannot push them aside,” Pou said. “This nightmarish cycle of arrest, imprisonment, release and more imprisonment harms our economy, wastes taxpayer money and destroys families and communities. This is a complex problem, but  is also one we must not be afraid to confront. New Jersey needs a substantive and strategic rehab plan for exiting prison,” Evans said. “And those services cannot just start when inmates are released. They must be accessible from the first day a person enters the prison system to help them break this cycle of re-incarceration.”

Previous Second Chance hearings were held in Newark, Somerset and Trenton. The hearings have drawn thousands of people and received an overwhelming response from community groups, religious leaders, advocates, law enforcement professionals and residents. The next hearing after Wednesday’s is planned for Friday, Jan. 23 in Atlantic City from 3 to 8 p.m. at Second Baptist Church at 110 Rev. Isaac S. Coles Plaza.

For more information or to testify at the hearing, call (609) 292-0500 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Comments (1)Add Comment
Problem will not go away
written by none, January 13, 2009
IN good or bad economic times this problem will remain unless someoen gets serious about changing what is happening inside the prison system in New Jersey. Barely 2 % of the $1.2 Billion budget is spent on prison education programs. Is it any wonder why nothing positive ever occurs?

Over 95% of all current inmates will be back on the street within 5 years. WE must find a way to divert money inside the Corrections system so that a more effective education program cna prevent 2 out of three of those released from committing another crime.

It can be done , but hard choices and a desire to change how the process works is needed.

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