A New Jersey program to keep technical parole violators out of the prison system has been recognized with a Council of State Governments Innovations Award. Under the program, offenders picked up for technical violations–a failed drug test or a missed meeting, for example–are sent to one of two assessment centers for up to 30 days so officials can determine whether they should be imprisoned. The program, launched last July, save $2 million in 2008, state officials said.
The council’s awards spotlight innovations in state government. Other finalists with criminal justice themes included a prisoner re-entry program in Connecticut and a Vermont substance abuse group intervention program designed for low-income, rural women. (The link connects with Council of State Governments awards website.)