Gov. Chris Christie today wasted no time in signing the bill repealing the statutory early release parole program. The Senate had passed the bill recently and the Assembly passed it Monday.
With the Governor’s signature, the release of another four prisoners scheduled for today was stopped; fourteen were scheduled for release tomorrow, according to the governor’s office.
“From a public policy and public safety point of view, the statutory early release law was a disaster,” Christie said. “Repeal should have happened 10 months ago, when we predicted and warned of the tragic circumstances that would follow if this law remained in effect. Nonetheless, I’m relieved and grateful that the Legislature finally acted to repeal this failed law. Our communities and the safety of our citizens must get first consideration, and repeal of this law accomplishes that.”
The bill passed by the Assembly today and previously by the Senate includes another provision added by Christie in a conditional veto issued on March 30. The conditional veto returns discretion to the parole board for determining parole eligibility. Prior to the governor’s action, a mandatory 3-year parole review for all inmates was imposed on the Parole Board – even for those inmates who made no efforts toward rehabilitation.