Lt. Gov. Oliver on The Importance of Reentry Programs
NJ Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver joins Steve Adubato on-location at the NJ Reentry “The Road to Salvation: From Addiction to Employment” Conference to discuss the issue of addiction and incarceration across the country and the importance of investing in reentry programs like the NJ Reentry Corporation.
"This is Steve Adubato. You see a lot of activity behind me. This is in fact the Annual Reentry Conference. We're at Jersey... we're in Jersey City, at Saint Peter's University. This is called The Road to Salvation: From Addiction to Employment. The New Jersey Reentry Corporation is holding its conference. The folks who matter in government are here. In fact the Lieutenant Governor's here. Sheila Oliver. Lieutenant Governor, let me ask you, today's conference is so important because? Because we have spent decades in this country, and in New Jersey, trying to address the issue of incarceration and addiction. We've collected enough data now to know what type of intervention works. And the kind of work that New Jersey Reentry Corporation is doing reduces recidivism, helps people who have been formerly incarcerated reintegrate back into society, and the most important thing is we're spending billions incarcerating people. Most people, 86% of incarcerated people in this country are there because of drug addiction and substance abuse. So I think the work that the Reentry Corporation is doing is getting to the heart of the matter, dealing with sobriety and getting people onto a track of sober living. Education is important. A significant number of people who have been incarcerated never completed high school. Only 7% of people who have been incarcerated have a college education. So we know the formula that works. This program costs about $2,200 per person. We spend $35,000 per person in our New Jersey correctional system. So this conference is important. Opioid addiction. We don't have to even discuss. It affects every county. People are grappling with... Across this nation? Across this nation. And you know, we are on the 95 Interstate Corridor in New Jersey. A lot of opioids are coming into our state. And then we have the issue of China, and the exportation of fentanyl, which is killing people in our state. So this conference is important. We're speaking with the Lieutenant Governor, Sheila Oliver. This is the Annual Reentry Corporation Conference, From Addiction to Employment. Easier said than done. These folks have come here to listen, to engage in a conversation about an issue that's not just a New Jersey issue, but it's across this country, a societal issue. So I'm going to ask you Lieutenant Governor, for those who say, "This isn't my issue because I don't have... I am not coming out of jail. I don't have someone in my family who's dealing with this." You say? I say this is a major issue because it is affecting everyone. If I turned the clock back, people would think it was just African-American populations, Latino populations..."