Christie to sign bill mandating drug treatment

((AP Photo/Curt Hudson))

July 19, 2012 3:22:03 AM PDT
Gov. Chris Christie is set to sign a bill changing the way New Jersey's criminal justice system deals with drug users.

The governor will sign the bill Thursday morning at the Rescue Mission in Trenton.

The legislation expands eligibility for the state's drug court program and mandates that nonviolent, drug-dependent offenders receive treatment rather than prison time. It phases in a statewide program over a five-year period, beginning with at least three counties in the first year.

The Legislature and the governor will receive yearly reports on the program, including completion and revocation rates, recidivism rates and costs.

Christie, a former federal prosecutor, has spoken in favor of treatment rather than prison time for drug addicts.