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    Chapter 17B: Establishment of department; "the department" defined

      Section: 52:17B-169: Findings, declarations relative to juvenile justice.

1. The Legislature finds and declares:

a. The public safety requires reform of the juvenile justice system;

b. Juvenile arrests for murder, robbery, aggravated sexual assault, sexual assault and aggravated assault have increased 38 percent between 1988 and 1993 and New Jersey ranks near the top nationally in the number of juvenile arrests for serious violent crimes;

c. Juvenile crime has become a leading cause of injury and death among young people;

d. Currently, preventive, deterrent and rehabilitative services and sanctions for juveniles are the responsibility of no less than three State departments: The Department of Law and Public Safety deals with county prosecutors and local police and implements prevention programs; the Department of Corrections operates the New Jersey Training School for Boys and the Juvenile Medium Security Facility, and its Bureau of Parole supervises juvenile parolees; and the Department of Human Services operates residential and day programs in facilities for juveniles adjudicated delinquent;

e. The division of responsibility for the juvenile justice population and the limitations on resources available to meet ever-increasing demands for services provided by the Departments of Human Services and Corrections have prevented the departments from maximizing efforts to meet the special needs of the juvenile justice population;

f. The juvenile justice system lacks services and sanctions short of incarceration, particularly in urban areas and for that reason, many juveniles are not held accountable until they have committed a series of increasingly serious criminal acts;

g. The special needs of juveniles can be addressed through services and sanctions provided at the county and local level;

h. The need to protect the public from criminal acts by juvenile offenders requires a comprehensive program and concerted action of governmental agencies and private organizations at the State, county and local level that permit effective response and avoid waste of scarce resources;

i. (1) The comprehensive program should provide a range of services and sanctions for juveniles sufficient to protect the public through prevention; early intervention; and a range of meaningful sanctions that ensure accountability, provide training, education, treatment and, when necessary, confinement followed by community supervision that is adequate to protect the public and promote successful reintegration into the community;

(2) Consistent with the need to protect the public, services and sanctions for juveniles shall provide balanced attention to the protection of the community, the imposition of accountability for offenses committed, fostering interaction and dialogue between the offender, victim and community and the development of competencies to enable juvenile offenders to become responsible and productive members of the community.

j. The most efficient and effective use of available resources requires fixing responsibility for the comprehensive program in a single State agency and providing incentives to encourage the development and provision of appropriate services and sanctions at the county and local level; and

k. It is, therefore, necessary to establish a Juvenile Justice Commission responsible for operating State services and sanctions for juveniles involved in the juvenile justice system and responsible for developing a Statewide plan for effective provision of juvenile justice services and sanctions at the State, county and local level; to establish a State/Community Partnership Grant Program through which the State will provide incentives to county and local governments to encourage the provision of services and sanctions for juveniles adjudicated or charged as delinquent and programs for the prevention of juvenile delinquency, and to establish county youth services commissions responsible for planning and implementing the Partnership at the local level.

L.1995,c.284,s.1; amended 2001,c.408,s.7.

This section added to the Rutgers Database: 2012-09-26 13:37:55.

Older versions of 52:17B-169 (if available):

Court decisions that cite this statute: CLICK HERE.