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Governor Christie: Every Life Is Precious

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Published on Jul 10, 2012

Governor Christie Speaks At The Brookings Institution
Washington, D.C.
July 9, 2012 (Transcript Below)

Governor Christie: I put forward in the state of state address, that the war on drugs while well intentioned has been a failure. That we're warehousing addicted people every day in state prisons in New Jersey, giving them no treatment, sending them out back on the street after their term of incarceration and wondering why our recidivism rates go up and why they don't get better, why they commit crimes again. Well they commit crimes to support their addiction. You can certainly make the argument that no one should try drugs in the first place. And I certainly am in that camp. But tens of millions of people do, every year. And for some people they can try it and walk away from it, but for others the first time they try it they become an addict. And their sick and they need treatment. So I said what we need to do is for all first time non-violent drug offenders, we have to make drug treatment mandatory. Because if your pro-life, as I am, you can't be pro-life just in the whom. Every life is precious, and every one of god's creatures can be redeemed. But they won't be if we ignore them.

And I believe that this program which was passed over-whelming by the legislature this year and will be phased in over the next five years, will allow every person who comes into the criminal justice system in New Jersey with a drug addiction to get a year of mandatory drug treatment, in house. And I believe that the results will show after this is fully implemented will be startling. Because people can be treated, miracles happen every day at these facilities. Lives are restored. Mothers and fathers are restored to the heads of their families, brothers and sisters and sons and daughters are restored to the families. We return fabric to our families by doing this. And by the way, for those of you that are concerned about economics, it cost us forty-nine thousand dollars a year to warehouse a prisoner in New Jersey state prisons last year. A full year of impatient drug treatment cost twenty-four thousand dollars a year, so it makes economic sense also. But to me that's just a collateral advantage. The real reason to do it is that we have an obligation to understand that addiction is a disease. And that we need to give people a chance to overcome that disease and restore dignity and meaning to their lives.

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