Why Are NJ Inmates Collecting Disability Payments? [AUDIO]
Why are people in prison still getting temporary disability checks from the New Jersey when clearly they cannot get a job if they're sitting in a jail cell?
State Senator Steve Oroho can't find a logical answer to that question so he's sponsoring a bill to prohibit payment of temporary disability benefits to incarcerated individuals.
Critics of the measure say if it becomes law it will place an undue burden on the convicted person's family members who did not commit a crime.
Oroho responds, "Unfortunately, their family is going to suffer so the first thing to do is; don't do the crime."
Caroline Casagrande co-sponsors the bill in the Assembly. She says, "Criminals should not be receiving checks from the very taxpayers they ripped off in the first place. This is common sense, fairness and fiscal sanity."
The bill amends the Temporary Disability Benefits Law to prohibit benefits from being paid to an individual during any period during which they are incarcerated in any federal, State or municipal penal institution.
"It's a no-brainer," says Oroho. "If somebody who is employed commits a crime and gets put in jail are they supposed to continue to get their paycheck?"
Casagrande explains, "These are the kind of payouts that drives people crazy and makes the public cynical about the efficiency and fairness of government. Tax dollars should be used towards important services like education and infrastructure improvements not sent into the bank accounts of criminals sitting behind bars."
The bill has cleared committee in both the Senate and Assembly. A vote in the full houses is the next step.