Three Ex-Governors, the Current New Jersey Governor, and Nancy Pelosi Walk into a Room..
Date:  09-17-2014

No, that’s not the start of a joke but a sign that at least in NJ reentry is being taken seriously
September 15 saw much fanfare on Martin Luther King Drive in Jersey City, NJ. There was even an honor guard made up of Hudson County Corrections staff as dignitaries joined a crowd of approximately 300 people at the opening of Martin’s Place, a reentry program that is offering returning citizens help finding housing, employment and treatment for addictions.

The Jersey Journal reports that the attendees were made up of bi-partisan supporters who encourage giving those reintegrating back into the community from prison “the dignity of second chances,” as Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop so eloquently put it. The politicians who attended also included former Governors Brendan Byrne, Thomas Kean and Jim McGreevey, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Bob Menendez, and Governor Chris Christie.

In a post on the governor’s website a portion of Christie’s conversation with McGreevy took aim at some of his fellow Republicans:

“… for those people who just need some help, who need counseling, who need addiction therapy to be able to deal with the things that led them to their mistake, we have to be willing to reach out a hand to those folks. No matter what, I talk about this in the context of what a lot of people in my party talk about as a pro-life position and it seems to me that if you're pro-life you’ve got to be pro-life for the entire life, not just when they’re in the womb. And it’s easy, it seems to me, to be pro-life when you’re in the womb. They haven’t done anything to disappoint us, they haven’t done anything to fail themselves or us. The kid who's sitting in a jail cell in Hudson County, strung out on heroin, having stolen from his parents or his grandparents, having robbed a liquor store, having done the awful things that he did or she did to feed their addictions, it’s harder to be in favor of that life but that child is one of God's creations just as much as anybody else and we have to be there for that person as well.”

Not all of the guests at the event shared in the excitement of the hoopla surrounding the opening of Martin’s Place. The Jersey Journal posted that after listening to the speeches of politicians for about an hour, Danny Alexander, a formerly incarcerated person, had enough. Alexander left the ceremony stating, "Man, I'm leaving. Coming back when they're giving out jobs." The staff at Martin’s Place, headed by McGreevy, hope to do just that shortly.

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