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Lifetime parole supervision in New Jersey

Individuals who have been convicted of certain offenses in New Jersey may find themselves receiving a mandatory sentence of parole supervision for life. An individual will be placed under parole supervision once he or she is released from prison. If the defendant commits any probation violations, the Division of Parole may proceed with the process of revoking his or her parole.

There are several offenses that include PSL as a mandatory part of every sentence, including sexual assault, luring or enticing, kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child and aggravated sexual assault. The purpose of the mandatory sentence is to protect the public. Individuals who can demonstrate that they do not pose a threat to the public may file a petition for release from parole supervision.

A judge might release a defendant from supervision if he or she can provide convincing and clear evidence that he or she has not committed a crime for at least 15 years since being convicted or released from custody, whichever date is more recent. It is only possible for a defendant to be released from PSL by court order. In other words, the State Parole Board cannot make the decision to release a defendant from parole supervision.

An individual who is convicted of a serious crime like endangering the welfare of a child may face severe, lifelong penalties such as a long prison sentence and mandatory parole supervision for life. A criminal defense attorney may take a thorough look at a defendant's case to determine if there are grounds to have the case dismissed, such as mishandling of evidence. If the evidence appears strong, the attorney may suggest a plea bargain. In that event, the attorney might negotiate for reduced charges.

Source: State of New Jersey, "New Jersey State Parole Board Reference Guide", October 10, 2014

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