One Criminal Justice Program That Works: Fugitive Safe Surrender


More than 4,500 fugitives turned themselves in to New Jersey authorities over several days last week at a church in Jersey City, says the Trenton Times. In an editorial, the newspaper praises the Fugitive Safe Surrender effort, saying, “It's not an amnesty program. And those wanted for nonviolent crimes — such as unpaid parking tickets, failure to make court appearances, driving without a license, driving while suspended and illegal drug possession — do have to make amends.”

Some fugitives who have taken the opportunity to square up with the state describe it as a weight lifted from their shoulders and a jump-start to a new beginning. Social service agencies offer on the spot information on employment, health care, housing and rehab services. In addition to resolving thousands of open cases among the million or so active warrants in New Jersey at any one time, the program saves time and money that would otherwise be spent on chasing down and incarcerating fugitives, says the newspaper, calling it “a common-sense approach to resolving nonviolent infractions of the law.”

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