New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, following a visit to the Hudson County jail, has reiterated his support for prison rehabilitation programs.

Governor Chris Christie shakes hands with the Women of Integrity House at the Hudson County Correctional Facility in Kearny, N.J (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

"What I want to try to be able to do as governor is to be able to give everybody another chance, I don't believe that any life is disposable- every life is precious," said Christie, after meeting with more than two dozen female inmates enrolled in the Integrity House Substance abuse program.

He pointed out all of us in our lives fall down and make mistakes, and what's really important is whether we can get ourselves the tools to pick ourselves up and move on and to grow and be better.

"We're going to make sure that people who come in get treatment, because I know in my heart that this is a disease -we don't treat a disease by just locking someone up and just keeping them in a cell. We save lives by embracing people."

The governor pointed out over the next four years drug courts will be phased in across the Garden State because he believes the war on drugs has failed and that throwing everyone who makes a mistake in jail is ineffective.

"The easiest answer," said Christie, "is to say to people who have broken the law, we say, 'We're throwing you in jail and that's that, you're getting what you deserve and don't complain - you did it to yourself.' But the fact is, the reason I think we're starting to see a movement to change that because we are at our core a loving and caring people in this country and we don't want to see lives thrown away."

The governor also stressed bail reform needs to be looked at - keeping repeat violent offenders in prison, and also helping non-violent first-time offenders to not be locked up for extended periods of time - because they don't have a few hundred dollars to post bail.


Courtesy Governor's Office