Cunningham Legislation Assisting Inmates Re-Entering Society Now Law

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One of Senator Sandra Cunningham’s passions has been assisting inmates obtain employment and needed services upon their release from prison.  This week, Cunningham (D – District 31) saw Governor Phil Murphy sign a bill she co-sponsored with Senate President Steve Sweeney become law.

The bill, S2331, was also praised by former Governor Jim McGreevey, currently the President of the NJ Re-Entry Corporation based in Jersey City, who stated, “This law is critically important because it provides persons access to food stamps, General Assistance and Medicaid.  The law requires prisons to help returning citizens to complete the necessary applications for services while incarcerated. The practical reality is that they need services, like healthcare, in order to live and be successful upon release.”

“This law will help to address the significant obstacles faced by state and county inmates in obtaining what can be life-sustaining benefits when they are released from incarceration, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senator Cunningham. “One of the biggest barriers facing the reentry community upon release is lack of photo identification, which is needed to apply for general assistance, housing, or employment.”

The new law is intended to help former offenders succeed in life after their incarceration, making them productive members of society.

“This will offer former offenders a fair opportunity at a second chance by addressing the obstacles to their successful reentry into society,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “The barriers they encounter are even greater during the public health crisis we are now experiencing. Providing basic services can make a real difference in the lives of men and women who are returning to their families and communities as productive members of society.”

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