An increasing number of New Jersey inmates are maxing out their sentences, and are being released without supervision according to a report released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts.  

Prison Cell
Scott Olson, Getty Images

According to Pew's analysis of Department of Justice figures, more than 40 percent of prisoners in New Jersey served out their entire sentences, and were freed without support in 2012, making the state the ninth highest rate in the nation.

"People are sick and tired of the revolving door at this point and they don't see that we are going to build our way to public safety with more and more prisons. They are much more interested in stopping that revolving door," said Adam Gelb, director of the Public Safety Performance Project for Pew Charitable Trusts.

Inmates in New Jersey who got out before the end of their sentences and received supervision were 36 percent less likely than those who maxed out their sentences to return to prison for a new crime within three years of release.

"New Jersey is in the top 10 when it comes to max out rates across the nation. More and more states and policymakers are saying this is not an effective strategy for public safety - that we need to make sure that we carve out part of this prison term and make this person undergo a period of supervision," Kelb said.

All states should be looking at policies that create a mandatory re-entry supervision period according to Kelb.  He recommends about six months of supervision for an offender once released from prison to readjust to the community, re-establish ties with family, the community, jobs and housing. "It's the best way to ensure public safety. It also happens to save taxpayer dollars."

Nationally, the number of inmates who maxed out their sentences in prison grew 119 percent between 1990 and 2012, from fewer than 50,000 to more than 100,000.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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