Details are expected this week on Gov. Chris Christie’s proposal to expand the use of drug courts and make treatment mandatory for many people charged with low-level drug crimes.
Christie has made no secret of his proposal to mandate that nonviolent drug offenders get treatment instead of prison. He also wants to overhaul the bail system to keep suspects with violent histories in custody as they await trial.
Christie talked about both initiatives in his state-of-the-state address, and included $2.5 million in his budget to expand drug treatment. The former federal prosecutor told a town hall audience last week that state prisons are populated with 7,000 nonviolent drug offenders, each costing the state $49,000 a year to house.
He says the plan would save money and turn around lives.