Freshman lawmaker demands Murphy halt inmates release program

Freshman lawmaker demands Murphy halt inmates release program

TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywomen Marilyn Piperno and Kim Eulner are calling on Gov. Phil Murphy to halt his administration’s plan to release 852 inmates Sunday after lifting his Covid-19 health emergency last week.

“The health emergency is over so it doesn’t make sense to continue releasing prisoners early,” said Piperno (R-Monmouth). “This entire program was supposed to limit the spread of Covid but it failed and crime has skyrocketed the past two years.”

New Jersey’s pandemic-era early release program will continue Sunday with the freeing of another 852 inmates, the Department of Corrections announced Thursday, bringing the total number of inmates released to more than 6,000.

Violent crimes surged in 2021, with murders increasing 23%, mostly in New Jersey’s cities where many former prisoners live.

“The fact that some prisoners committed violent crimes or slipped back into whatever got them into prison in the first place is exactly what is wrong with early release,” said Eulner (R-Monmouth). “Not everyone is fit to rejoin society. Nobody is safer because of this program, and it undermines the legal system.”

There have been three instances, and at least five lives lost, because of murders allegedly committed by prisoners released early. Theodore Luckey has been charged with killing two men, Ronny Parden has also been charged with two counts of murder, and Jerry D. Crawford was charged with killing one person two days after his release. Many others have gone back to prison for committing another crime.

“The policy is a failure in every aspect other than reducing the prison population,” Piperno concluded.