Decarcerating New Jersey: A Transformative Vision of Justice

June 28, 2023

Decarcerating New Jersey: A Transformative Vision of Justice includes newly acquired statewide data on incarceration and policy recommendations that can serve as a national model for decarceration.

After decades of dedicated advocacy, the ACLU-NJ has helped lay the foundation for reimagining the criminal legal system in New Jersey through policy change that has reduced the state’s prison population by more than 50 percent since 2011. Despite this historic reduction, New Jersey prisons continue to have the highest rate of racial disparity in the nation, making decarceration fundamental to racial justice here, and beyond.   

Following the ACLU-NJ's 2017 report, A Vision to End Mass Incarceration in New Jersey, the 2023 report focuses on state data from 2017-2022, a period when New Jersey led the country in prison reductions. Decarcerating New Jersey rejects fearmongering and “tough-on-crime" policies that only further drive mass incarceration and division: data shows that violent crime is trending downward in tandem with drastic reductions in the state’s incarcerated population.