Looking to see his criminal justice reforms in action, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie toured the Hudson County jail to met with more than two dozen woman who are participating in a substance abuse treatment program there, reports the Newark Star-Ledger. Former Gov. Jim McGreevey, the spiritual adviser for the Integrity House, said the program is about “reclaiming lives” and giving women the tools they need in order to be re-integrated into society. The program focuses on treatment of women inmates prior to their release.
“I know in my heart this is a disease,” Christie said after listening to tearful testimonials from some of the women. “You don’t treat a disease by locking someone in a cell.” Last year Christie made drug treatment and the expansion of drug courts the centerpiece of his reforms. The national average for recidivism is 66 percent, McGreevey said. The rate of recidivism for women in the program is 25 percent. Drug programs like Integrity House will be implemented in all the county jails within the next four years to help as many people as possible, Christie said. The program receives $350,000 annually from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance.