Shorter Jail Sentences and Job Assistance ‘Next Step’ in Criminal Justice Reform
New Jersey has been at the forefront recently in terms of criminal justice reform, seeking to loosen overly restrictive provisions that put people accused or convicted of any type of criminal activity at a distinct disadvantage. Activists insist current laws and practices target minorities and lower income populations, failing to provide equal justice for all. As New Jersey criminal defense attorneys, we work diligently to protect our clients against the devastating outcomes that can result from a broken criminal justice system. Putting new reforms in place could potentially help otherwise honest and hardworking people who, for one reason or another, find themselves on the wrong side of the law.
Broad Penalties can Result From Even a Minor Criminal Conviction
People can find themselves facing criminal charges due to a variety of situations. They may be the victim of mistaken identity, in the wrong place at the wrong time, or have a momentary lapse in judgment. Regardless of the situation, the result could be a broad range of penalties that have the potential to significantly impact every area of your life. These include:
- Fines, court costs, and fees that can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars;
- A possibly lengthy jail sentence, even for crimes that are relatively minor or of a non-violent nature;
- Mandatory attendance at counseling and drug or alcohol classes, which in addition to time involve additional costs;
- Asset seizure, which may involve freezing accounts or taking possession of cars and other personal belongings.
In addition to these penalties, a criminal conviction will impact your personal life. Being charged with a crime can negatively impact you in New Jersey Family Court proceedings and can make it difficult to obtain a job, housing, or student loans. Avoiding these and other penalties is one of the key reasons why you need an experienced Milltown, NJ criminal defense attorney on your side when facing any type of charge.
New Jersey Senator Pushes for Reform
Criminal justice system reform advocates won a victory in 2018 when President Trump signed what is known as the First Step Act, which seeks to ease the heavy prison sentences that are often handed out on a federal level while providing services for those convicted to help keep them from returning to jail in the future. According to a March 7, 2019 NJ.com report, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) is now pushing for additional reforms, which he claims are the ‘Next Step’ in fixing a broken and unfair system.
Booker and some of his colleagues claim that the current system works against minorities and lower income individuals, violating their rights, making them more likely to face harsh penalties, and making it harder to rebuild their lives in the aftermath. Among the changes being proposed include:
- ‘Ban the box’ legislation, which prohibits potential employers from asking about criminal history until later in the hiring process;
- Allowing people with criminal convictions to obtain job licenses, such as those required to be a hairdresser, taxi driver, or for other occupations;
- Restoring the voting rights of individuals who have completed their prison sentence;
- Providing services that would help those being released from jail obtain photo identification and copies of birth certificates, social security cards, and other important documents.
Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorney Fights for You
Whether you are facing criminal charges or trying to rebuild your life after a conviction, the Law Office of Jordan B. Rickards, Esq. acts as a strong legal advocate on your side. Call or contact our Milltown criminal defense and expungement attorney online and request a consultation to discuss your case today.