At the YWCA Princeton Now Hear This session on March 14, Simone Brickers and Nicole Plett presented updates to the problem of mass incarceration as it relates to the New Jim Crow awareness movement. Plett, who represents the Integrated Justice Alliance, offered info on criminal justice bills that reside in legislative committee. To get these bills out of committee will require pressure from voters. March 25 is the deadline for public comment on #3, prison telephone surcharge.
Please support these bills.
1. “The Opportunity to Compete Act”
S2586 & A3837
Also known as “Ban the Box,” this bill establishes certain employment rights for persons with
criminal histories. Under this law, criminal background checks are delayed until later in the
hiring process, encouraging employers to focus on the current skills and qualifications of a job
candidate, rather than past mistakes. This bill will come before the Labor Committee of each
House following this month’s budget negotiations.
2. Prison-based Gerrymandering
S1055 & A1437
Requires incarcerated persons be counted as residents of their previous address, not prison,
for redistricting purposes.
Primary sponsors are Senator Sandra Cunningham and Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.
Known as the prison-based gerrymandering bill, you can learn more about this issue on the
national website of the Prison Policy Initiative: and on NJ’s
page within the site: The bill was been passed out of the Senate State Government committee (May 2012). It is currently before the Assembly State Government committee (Assemblywoman Linda Stender,
3. Prison Telephone Surcharge A1436
Requires lowest possible price for inmate telephone calls.
Primary Sponsor is Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.
Bonnie Watson Coleman and Albert Coutinho, Primary Sponsors.
In the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee. The FCC is also receiving comments on
this issue as it pertains to interstate phone calls by incarcerated persons; deadline for public
comments is March 25.