COMMITTEE ADVANCES MOSQUERA LEGISLATION ESTABLISHING COMMUNITY INTEGRATION PROGRAM FOR CERTAIN VICTIMS OF DOMESTIC ABUSE

To help victims of domestic violence who have been imprisoned solely for crimes against their abuser, Assembly Democrats Gordon Johnson, Gabriela Mosquera and Valerie Vainieri Huttle sponsor a bill that would establish a community integration program for these individuals. The legislation was advanced by the Assembly Women and Children Committee on Monday.

Under the bill (A-720/S-381), a supervised community reintegration program would be established within the Department of Corrections to help foster the reintegration of inmates convicted of a crime against their abuser, who present a low risk of re-offense and have documented evidence of pre-existing abuse.

Inmates approved for the program would receive rehabilitative services and then gradually transition to supervision within the community – such as participating in a work release program.

“Often when a victim uses force against their abuser, they were trying to defend themselves, escape the abuse or reclaim their sense of self, which are all understandable motives,” said Assemblywoman Mosquera (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Once victims are removed from that dangerous situation, they have no reason to harm anyone else. They deserve the opportunity to move on from their experiences and return to society with careful guidance.”

Inmates who wish to participate in this program would apply to the Department of Corrections. The department would review information about the applicant, including a psychological evaluation, objective risk assessment, evidence of abuse and summary of the crime in order to determine eligibility.

The legislation now heads to the Assembly Speaker for further consideration.