Obama to visit Newark next week to talk criminal justice

By Jonathan D. Salant | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on October 27, 2015

President Barack Obama visits The Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in Camden, Monday, May 18, 2015. Obama spoke about Camden and its designation as a promise zone, which allows the city to use grants and other federal help to address issues such as crime, health and jobs.

 

WASHINGTON — President Obama will visit Newark on Monday to discuss criminal justice issues, the White House announced.

Obama will be joined by U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka to highlight former prisoners trying to return to society.

The president and Booker have helped lead efforts to find alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders and ways to allow those released from prison to find jobs.

"The epidemic of mass incarceration in America is costing taxpayers billions of dollars, disproportionately affecting communities of color, and isn't making us any safer," Booker said. "I look forward to continuing to work with President Obama in restoring integrity and fairness to our criminal justice system. The time to act is now."

Booker was part of a bipartisan group of U.S. senators who agreed on compromise legislation Oct. 1 that reduced some mandatory sentences and provided federal inmates with job training, drug treatment and a chance to be released from prison early. The measure also limited solitary confinement for juveniles and allowed them to erase certain convictions for non-violent crimes.

Gov. Chris Christie also has talked about overhauling the criminal justice system during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

This will be Obama's third visit to New Jersey in the last 11 months. He previously visited Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst to mark the end of U.S. combat operations and Camden to discuss community policing.

After leaving Newark, the president will travel to New York City to attend fundraising events for the Democratic National Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

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