Gov. Chris Christie describes himself as a conservative Republican, but he's been strongly behind efforts to reform the state prison system, and has pushed for all nonviolent, first-time drug offenders to be sent to inpatient rehab instead of prison.

(Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

During a prisoner re-entry conference in Jersey City, the governor said he feels this way because of his pro-life perspective.

"It's great to be pro-life, but you need to be pro-life after they get out of the womb too," Christie said. "You've got to be pro-life the entire journey, not just the beginning of it."

He stressed sometimes life presents us with challenges to being pro-life because people make mistakes, anger us and do things that we can't understand. However, "if we believe in the sanctity of life, then we need to believe in how life is precious for every moment that God gives us, not only the really good moments but the really tough moments too," Christie said.

"If in fact we believe life is precious, and I do, then the life of the drug-addicted teenager, arrested for the sixth time, is just as precious as the lives of any one of my children," Christie said. "We're all flawed, and we all make mistakes, and we all -- at some moment in our lives -- need help."

The governor said rehab gives people a chance to reclaim their lives and become productive, and it's also a lot cheaper than sending them to prison.

"I'm not asking anybody to take a blind leap of faith, I'm saying look at the results," Christie told the crowd. "The results, both from a humanity perspective and a fiscal perspective, are undeniable. And if that's the case, what the hell are we waiting for?"