Women serving time for attacking abuser in N.J. could qualify for leniency

New Jersey women serving time for striking back against domestic violence might get a new path out of prison.

The criminal justice system often fails to account for the violence and abuse many women in prison suffered before they acted against their abuser in self-defense or retaliation, according to Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg.

She has proposed legislation to allow women convicted of assaulting or killing their abuser to make a transition back into society.

“After a certain few years, she can go to the parole board, introduce the evidence of domestic abuse, and, if the parole board agrees, come out under supervised parole,” said Weinberg, D-Bergen.

To be eligible, inmates would have to demonstrate they didn’t hurt anyone other than their abuser and undergo a psychological evaluation.

Many of those women have paid the price with long prison terms, Weinberg said, adding that their return to society is more likely to succeed if they get supervision and support.

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