ATLANTIC CITY – Fugitives hiding from the law will soon have the opportunity to surrender safely at a neutral location in Atlantic City, take responsibility for their crimes and receive favorable consideration from the court.
The initiative, called Fugitive Safe Surrender–New Jersey Southern Region will operate on Saturday, April 21, 2012 and Monday, April 23, 2012 through Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at Grace Assembly of God Church, 201 Atlantic Avenue, in Atlantic City. Individuals will be able to turn themselves in at the church from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day. Their cases will be adjudicated at temporary courtrooms a few blocks away.
Fugitive Safe Surrender-New Jersey Southern Region
will NOT operate on Sunday, April 22, 2012.
New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa and New Jersey State Parole Board Chairman James T. Plousis said Fugitive Safe Surrender-New Jersey Southern Region represents an unprecedented, multi-agency collaboration in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. An estimated 2,500 fugitives are expected to turn themselves during the four-day event. A total of more than 10,000 fugitives surrendered during the first three New Jersey Fugitive Safe Surrender events: Fugitive Safe Surrender-Camden in 2008 (2,245 fugitives surrendered); Fugitive Safe Surrender-Newark in 2009 (4,103 surrendered); and Fugitive Safe Surrender-New Jersey Central Region in 2010 (3,901 fugitives surrendered).
Fugitive Safe Surrender-New Jersey Southern Region is open to individuals wanted on warrants by New Jersey law enforcement officials for non-violent crimes or disorderly person offenses, including family matters and child support. The program is also open to those who live out of state but have open warrants in New Jersey. The program cannot process out-of-state court matters. Fugitive Safe Surrender is not an amnesty program, but does offer favorable consideration from the court, often in the form of reduced fines or probation requirements instead of incarceration. Individuals wanted for violent crimes, or with previous convictions for violent crimes, may also surrender; however, those wanted for violent crimes are more likely to be taken into custody. At Fugitive Safe Surrender sites nationwide, only two percent of people that surrendered were taken into custody because the vast majority of those who turn themselves in are wanted for non-violent offenses and have no history of violence.
The initiative is only open to U.S. citizens, legal residents or those who lawfully in the United States. Individuals who are not in the United States lawfully are not eligible to participate.
Attorney General Chiesa and State Parole Board Chairman Plousis today announced details of the Fugitive Safe Surrender-Southern New Jersey at a press conference at the Grace Assembly of God Church in Atlantic City. They were joined by Atlantic County Prosecutor Theodore F.L. Housel and Sheriff Frank X. Balles, Cape May County Prosecutor Robert L. Taylor and Sheriff Gary G. Schaffer, Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae and Sheriff Robert A. Austino, Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton and Sheriff Carmel M. Morina, Salem County Prosecutor John T. Lenahan and Sheriff Charles M. Miller, the Minister Thea Fitzpatrick, Grace Assembly of God Church, Lori Scott Pickens, Director of Community Outreach at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers-Newark and other leaders to announce the launch of this important venture.
“Fugitives Safe Surrender-New Jersey Southern Region offers those wanted on New Jersey warrants a last chance for a second chance,” Attorney General Chiesa said. “The previous Fugitive Safe Surrenders events in New Jersey allowed more than 10,000 people to stop running from the law. We encourage anyone who is eligible to participate in Fugitive Safe Surrender–New Jersey Southern Region to take this opportunity, and all of the resources provided, to get a fresh start.”
“Those who turn themselves in will receive favorable consideration. Each case is different, but if you surrender peacefully you will get a much better outcome than if the police have to find you and bring you in,” State Parole Board Chairman – and former U.S. Marshal – James T. Plousis said. “Each participant reduces the danger inherent in fugitive apprehensions. They also save taxpayer dollars, and free up the police and courts to take on other matters.”