Senator Lesniak Urges Commission
To Support Measures To End Violence
NEW JERSEY – The Study Commission on Violence created by legislation introduced by Senator Raymond J. Lesniak met today for the first time.
This legislation, signed by the Governor last August, declares violence a “public health crisis” and creates a Study Commission on Violence to study the trends of violence, the source of violence, and the impact of violence on the community, to develop a method to address the epidemic of violence at the federal and State level, the issues of insufficient access to mental health treatment, make recommendations for Congressional and State action, and create adequate funding for community-based mental health treatment programs throughout the state
Senator Lesniak was prompted to sponsor the legislation by the series of mass murders in Newtown Connecticut, Old Bridge, New Jersey, Aurora, Colorado, Tucson, Arizona, and Fort Hood, Texas, as well as by the epidemic of violence in our society which results in one murder every day and over 70,000 domestic violence offenses every year in New Jersey.
“Nationwide more than 5000 children are murdered and an equivalent of 10,000 busloads of children have to go to emergency rooms for violence related injuries every year,” said Senator Lesniak.
The specific measures Senator Lesniak urges the Commission to recommend are the following:
- Expand the Special Offenders Units to handle mental health and violence
- Expand mental health treatment to handle involuntary commitments of potentially violent offenders
- Restore the After Three Program which was cut by Governor Corzine and eliminated by Governor Christie (The most dangerous time in a child’s life is between the time school gets out and their parent(s) come home from work. It’s a fertile time for gang recruiting.)
- Adopt common sense gun control measures.
- Require parole board under certain circumstances to release inmates not convicted of a violent crime under the No Early Release Act at the time of parole eligibility.
- Provide for issuance of certificate of rehabilitation to certain offenders with substance abuse disorders
- Adopt “The Opportunity to Compete Act;” establishes certain employment rights for persons with criminal record.
“We must change the culture of violence in our society,” Senator Lesniak said, “The steps outlined in this proposal create a path towards changing the culture of violence in our society. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. stated the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. It’s up to us to change the culture of violence in our society and bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice by reducing violence in our society.”