New Jersey’s Prison Population Shows Marked Decline

Charged with a Felony in New Jersey A recent evaluation of data from the New Jersey Department of Corrections revealed fewer people are being sentenced to prison in the state over the last five years. In fact, the numbers have continued to decline over the last two decades. Since the 1990s, New Jersey has seen the largest decrease in prison inmates of any state in the country.

In 1999, there were over 31,000 people incarcerated in New Jersey. The numbers have decreased over 30% since then. Specifically, there are 19,619 total adults in prison, juveniles in detention, and people in halfway houses this year, representing an over 15% drop since 2013. As for the breakdown of these inmates by criminal offense:

With regard to the length of their sentences, the average prison term was 6 years. Over 1,000 were sentenced to life and 80 are serving life without parole. Almost 40% were sentenced to serve 10 or more years.

Avoiding Prison With Diversionary Programs

Although a reduction in the crime rate overall is at least partially responsible for the decrease in prison inmates, there are other factors at play. Specifically, New Jersey lawmakers have ushered in major changes in the way the state handles non-violent drug offenders and parole violations. In the realm of drug crime, the reduction in people serving time for drug offenses is greater than any other type of criminal offense. In fact, there has been a 38.2% decrease in adult males sentenced to prison for drug charges since 2013.

Now, the state uses diversionary programs like Drug Court to resolve these cases without sending people to prison. Drug Courts, which now operate in every county in the state, allow non-violent drug offenders to complete drug rehabilitation programs as opposed to going to jail. Of course, it makes more sense to send a person to drug treatment if they were likely driven to criminal behavior as a result of their addiction.

The other two areas that decreased significantly in terms of people sentenced to prison were property crimes and public policy crimes. Property offenses encompass receiving stolen property, theft, and burglary. The number of imprisoned people charged with property crimes decreased overall by 33.6% since 2013. As for public policy offenses, including juvenile crimes and family offenses such as endangering the welfare of a child and child abuse, this area saw a reduction of 33.7% in people sentenced to jail. For many of these cases, the defendants have no prior criminal record and are eligible for the Pretrial Intervention Program. By enrolling and completing PTI, these individuals are able to have the original charges dismissed, avoiding jail and a criminal conviction.

Weapons Charges Lead to More Prison Sentences

One notable area that saw an increase in the number of people incarcerated was weapons offenses. While there were 977 inmates serving time for weapons crimes in 2013, there were 1,091 in 2017. This represents an 11.7% increase. The increase in prison sentences for weapons offenses, including gun possession and unlawful possession of a weapon, is not surprising considering the strictness of New Jersey’s weapons laws.

Charged with a Felony in New Jersey?

If you have been arrested for an indictable crime, also known as a felony, you are now facing prison time in NJ. Depending on the degree of the charges, a felony in New Jersey can result in a prison sentence ranging from 18 months to 20 years. Some first degree crimes even have extended sentences of up to life in jail. Fortunately, there are numerous defense strategies that can be used to beat criminal charges. Also, you may be eligible for a diversionary program that can be used to get your charges dismissed. The important thing is understanding all of your options and having an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who can aggressively defend your rights. For additional information and a free consultation, contact The Tormey Law Firm anytime at (201)-556-1570. We are happy to discuss your specific situation and how we can help with your case.


  • No promises, just a Pro!

  • Excellent Lawyer... Helped me in every step off my Case..

  • Great work

  • Best lawyer!!

  • FRO removal success!!

  • Easy to work with, straightforward

  • Kept my license

  • Father of client

  • Excellent Attorney , Charges Dismissed as promised

  • Helped every step of the way

  • Avoid mandatory jail time on shoplifting charges


  • Help

  • Did the job he was hired to do

  • Great lawyer

  • Simple assault charge was dropped

  • Top Notch Representation

  • Well worth it.

  • DUI Case Dismissed

  • 2 felony charges dismissed

  • Cameron bury

  • great attorney

  • Hands Down Professional and delivers results!!!

  • DUI case dismissed

  • 125 stars out of 10!!

  • Excellent at getting best outcome

  • Excellent Attorney

  • TRO Dismissal

  • Efficient Excellent attorney.

  • Excellent attorney

  • Travis successfully defended me in an unprecedented Final Restraining Order Trial with ease

  • Kick Ass Attorney!

  • Efficient and professional attorney

  • Great Lawyer And Great Results

  • Top Notch DUI Attorney

  • Client Domestic Violence

  • Restraining Order

  • A real pro in a time of need - DWI Dismissed.

  • The most experienced, patient and affordable attorney

  • Travis Tormey successfully had a False TRO against me dismissed.

  • Underaged Drinking

  • Underaged Drinking

  • DUI Dismissed

  • Saved me from a DUI. HIGHLY recommended

  • Restraining Order

  • Case dismissed with Data Driven Facts

  • Respectful. Attentive. Professional.

  • Trespassing and Under the Influence Disorderly Persons charges

  • If you are reading this- You have reached the right place! Undoubtedly, the BEST Law Firm in New Jersey!

  • Amazing attorney with a heart of gold

  • Exceeded my expectations, Highly Professional Attorney

  • Responsive and knowledgeable.

  • The Tormey law firm was very kind and professional

  • Expungement

  • Travis Tormey is a True Professional Who Kept Me Out of Jail

  • Saved me a whole ton of problems

  • Travis Tormey Review

  • A nightmare case, with a happy ending.

  • Elite NJ Marijuana Attorney! 5 Stars!!

  • An Excellent lawyer!

  • Great lawyer for DUI

  • I highly endorse Travis Tormey.

  • Travis Tormey Law Firm

  • Travis is a Lifesaver

  • Travis J. Tormey - Evaluation

  • Great Lawyer. Got me off exactly what I wanted

  • Consummate Professional!

  • Great Criminal Defense Lawyer

  • Good Service

  • Exceptional Lawyer

  • Exceptional Lawyer

  • Hired to defend me for aggravated assault

  • Hired to defend me in a restraning order

  • Excellent attorney, highly recommend his talents

  • DWI Counsel

  • I highly recommend Mr. Tormey

  • Great attorney

  • Travis Tormey, Esq. - Great Results!

  • Travis Tormey - Excellent Attorney-Kind and Trustworthy

  • Excellent Attorney-Trustworthy and Kind

  • An Outstanding lawyer!!! That will represent you in the correct way!

  • Excellent Attorney! You will not be dissapointed....

  • Travis Tormey Gets Results!

  • tormey

  • Success!!

  • Travis Tormey Review

  • Only Lawyer I Recommend

  • Very Grateful

  • Attorney review of Travis Tormey

  • Excellent

Experience You Can Trust

With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation. With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Learn More About How to Fight Your Charges

If you've been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.

The Tormey Law Firm

Areas we serve

Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, Passaic County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Somerset County including Morristown, Denville, Dover, Mount Olive, Parsippany, Hackensack, East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Englewood, Fort Lee, Garfield, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ridgefield Park, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Clifton, and Wayne.

  • Hackensack Office

    254 State Street Hackensack, NJ 07601

    (201) 556-1570

    view larger map

  • Morristown Office

    55 Madison Avenue Suite 400, Morristown, NJ 07960

    (908) 336-5008

    view larger map