New Jersey will overhaul how it funds programs that give kids alternatives to gangs and drugs after a months-long review found the current system in disarray, Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. Unveiling the second part of a three-part anti-crime initiative, Corzine said a lack of coordination among various state agencies has led to the duplication of some services while allowing others to be ignored. The state has had no way of knowing if the programs it funds actually reduce delinquency and crime.
“It’s time that we start investing in things that are right and proven,” he said. “I’m not sure that we’ve always done that.” Corzine will name a “prevention coordinator” to oversee how 10 state departments dole out more than $35 million for programs to battle truancy and delinquency, provide job skills and summer work, and give kids a place to play away from the streets. “Prevention is a much better alternative than incarceration,” Corzine said. “We cannot arrest ourselves out of this problem.” Today, Corzine will explain how he will try to keep the 14,000 inmates released each year from returning to prison. Among the ideas in the $3 million re-entry strategy is a job skills program and an oversight committee for re-entry.