Inside Out Look at New Jersey’s Intensive Supervision Program
January 12, 2024
For nonviolent offenders sentenced to prison in New Jersey, the Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) is an excellent opportunity to leave prison and serve the rest of their sentences in their community under strict supervision. The program offers those with the ability to rehabilitate and reconstruct their lives, structure, supervision, and resources to help the inmate form better habits and counteract the destructive behaviors that led to their incarceration. However, the program is not open to anyone and requires an extensive application process that the average person may not know how to navigate successfully. Fortunately, a criminal defense attorney at Proetta, Oliver, & Fay can help you determine if you are an eligible candidate and work to improve your chances of entering ISP by assisting in completing the application and interview process and appearing in court with you at sentencing.
Our criminal lawyers can offer invaluable advice and guidance, serving as your resource through the complex process. To discuss your case and potential for securing Intensive Supervision Probation in Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, or elsewhere in Southern New Jersey, contact us today. We are happy to provide you with a free consultation and explain how we can be essential to your successful application. Call our Evesham Township, New Jersey office at 609-850-8284.
Determining Your Eligibility for the Intensive Supervision Program in NJ
Those more likely to benefit from, and be eligible for, ISP have third or fourth degree and some second degree criminal convictions, typically drug, theft, or non-violent convictions, a clear or limited criminal history, and a willingness and ability to make the right lifestyle changes.
How does Intensive Supervision Differ from Regular Probation in NJ?
Although it’s a great opportunity, ISP is not easy and is unlike probation, which has far less rigid supervision. For example, participants must maintain employment while on probation and in ISP. However, the ISP participant may be wearing an ankle monitor and must inform an employer that they are in ISP. In sum, ISP is for offenders who committed more severe crimes than those on standard probation. Probation is a substitute for jail, while ISP is more like imprisonment, except outside prison walls. As the name suggests, ISP is a far more intensive involvement in all aspects of an inmate’s life since it is a form of prison.
What Disqualifies Someone from the Intensive Supervision Program?
While high-risk offenders are eligible for the program, higher-risk offenders are not. ISP is not open to those with first degree convictions or those facing convictions for homicide, robbery, bribery, organized crime, corruption, second degree abuse of office or misconduct, illegal weapons possession, and sex offenses. Anyone who violated drug court rules is also ineligible, as is anyone with a mandatory minimum sentence. For example, a Graves Act gun violation requires a convicted defendant to serve a minimum of one-third to one-half of their sentence before they can apply for parole. Thus, they are ineligible to serve their sentence outside prison.
Demands of Being under Intensive Supervision in New Jersey
For successful applicants, the program demands rigid structure and supervision. Participants have numerous restrictions and compliance obligations, such as strict curfews and attending drug and alcohol rehabilitative treatment (if applicable). They must obtain employment within 30 days of acceptance into the program and maintain employment. Some participants must complete community service and cannot have firearms. They must submit to random drug and alcohol testing and must not travel outside of New Jersey without permission. Moreover, they must attend regularly scheduled meetings, pay fines, and maintain support obligations to dependents. All participants must be in frequent contact with an ISP officer or comply with GPS monitoring. Violating the terms of IPS results in a hearing and a return to prison.
Advantages of the NJ Intensive Supervision Program
Despite the burdensome compliance rules, participants benefit from a structured case plan governing all aspects of their lives and legal representation should they violate ISP terms. The apparent benefits of the program are living outside prison walls, becoming a responsible community member by maintaining a job, tackling toxic self-destructive behaviors, and following an inflexible schedule of contacts and actions. Though each ISP participant follows similar rules, each program is tailored to the participant.
What to do when Applying for ISP
A hopeful participant must be careful and diligent about the application process. They must first receive their sentence in court and then apply for the program from state prison after serving at least 60 days of their sentence. They must include a mapped-out plan for their lives and an identified community sponsor in their application, which they submit to the screening board, which consists of three superior court judges charged with deciding whether to admit the applicant. At an interview, the convicted individual must explain their plan for their life outside of prison while in the program. For sentences of five or more years, the applicant must remain in the program for at least 16 months. Once in the program, the ISP participant enters a 90-day probationary period.
Screeners consider an ISP candidate eligible for the program when they have no disqualifications, have a feasible plan with an identified community sponsor, and have served 60 days of their prison sentence. So long as they are otherwise able to work and live within a community, the screeners should accept the applicant into ISP. Once the three-judge panel agrees that the applicant will likely benefit from the program and strictly adhere to the rules, the applicant becomes an ISP participant.
Ways We Can Improve Your Intensive Supervision Program Application
It is crucial to know what the judges want to see in an application to convince them that an applicant is eligible and most probably successful in completing their prison term outside prison. If your criminal conviction results in a lengthy prison sentence, consult a criminal attorney at our Burlington County criminal law firm about getting ISP. Optimally, you hire an attorney before conviction to have a solid defense and eliminate or reduce the consequences of criminal charges. However, a conviction may be unavoidable. In those cases, you want to consider post-conviction relief or program alternatives, like ISP, to help you resume your life as soon as you can during or after completing your sentence.
Talk to a Burlington County, New Jersey ISP Lawyer Now
You will need help filling out your application from someone who knows what the judges want to see before accepting you into the program. We can also prepare you for the interview so that you show the screener that your plan is viable and a good fit for the program’s aims. Lastly, our criminal attorneys can help you obtain parole when you appear before a resentencing panel at the end of your program. You must convince a resentencing board that you can live among the community as a contributing member of society. Our attorneys can help you persuade decision-makers. Contact us today for a free consultation at 609-850-8284 to help you get into ISP and reclaim your freedom.