Trenton insiders have a plan to deal with young criminals. The plan won't keep you safe, won't rehabilitate the kids and certainly won't do anything to solve the affordability crisis. The plan will however cost you money, potentially raise your taxes AND continue the gravy train for rich politically connected elites.

The plan is to build three new prisons at a cost of about $160 million is nothing more than another public project to line the pockets of the connected firms lining up to collect. And what makes it worse is they disguise their money-grabbing intentions in social justice.

The elites in Trenton will tell you it's critical for 'social justice' in order to keep kids closer to their home communities. So they're gonna build three, north, central and south. The problem? It's totally unnecessary.

I had a great conversation with Andrea McChristian from the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. She explained how there are already community based facilities all over the Garden State, which not only accomplish the goal of community based incarceration, but can be upgraded to contain any youth offender who may be a threat to themselves or others. This has successfully been done with a facility in Egg Harbor and for only a fraction of the cost of new construction can be done elsewhere.

What really struck me is the opportunity to combine social justice with public safety AND fiscal responsibility. Most conservatives hear the term 'social justice' and they recoil. I see an opportunity to have a thoughtful, solution-based conversation with advocates who are willing to discuss the rehabilitation of kids and still guarantee public safety and reduce public spending. This is the kind of partnership we need to form in other areas in order to actually fix NJ. Appreciate what Andrea is doing on this front for all of us.

Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015. Tweet him @NJ1015 or @BillSpadea. The opinions expressed here are solely those of Bill Spadea.

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