Unlocked

nieman.harvard.edu
  • No tags were found...

Unlocked

IMPACTNewspapers in New Jersey compete aggressively with The New York Times,but they responded strongly to the series. For months, they publishededitorials calling for reforms to the halfway house system.The Record, the state’s second-largest newspaper:l“In an exhaustive three-part series, The NewYork Times revealed a system of New Jersey halfwayhouses that are rife with violence, sexual abuse, gangactivity and minimal oversight. …Privatization is not a wonder drug, a panacea forreplacing all costly government services. Some thingsrequire strong oversight. The transition of inmatesback into society is one of those things. There may bea place for halfway houses in New Jersey, places thatare small enough to be safe, places that are regulatedtightly by the state. We would like to see such placessucceed in New Jersey.But what we have now are not such places. In toomany cases, what we have is hell.”“If there is a hell, it is a place where people hear youscream. It is a place where you emit a primal sound, somethingfrom deep down in your gut, an animal noise that would senddread into the souls of the most indifferent of men. People hearyour pain, but this is hell, so they do not respond. For a lowlevellawbreaker, for a barber who once smilingly posed for aphoto with Newark Mayor Cory Booker, for Derek West Harris,this was Delaney Hall.This week, The New York Times published an exposé onNew Jersey’s halfway houses. Delaney Hall is one of thosebuildings. Over three days, The Times documented cases ofsexual abuse, drug dealing, violence and even murder insidethese privately run quasi-jails.The political sensation of The Times’ series was itsconnection between Republican Governor Christie and WilliamPalatucci, a senior vice president of Community EducationCenters, the company that runs Delaney Hall.”


REACTIONThe Times of Trenton wrote: “The New York Times series paints analarming picture of inattention to the problems in a system clearly inneed of better regulation.”Asbury Park Press: “It’s nothing new to hear Gov. Chris Christie or one of hisaides or allies slam the messenger when the message doesn’t run with theirpolitical narrative. In one of the latest cases of this tired ritual, it’s The NewYork Times that’s the target for its incisive reports last month about the bevyof problems inside New Jersey’s supposedly ‘model’ system of privately run halfway houses.Violence, a surprising lack of security, drug use, poorly trained staff, inmates begging to goback to prison for their safety, frequent escapes/walkaways — what the Times laid out in detail ina series of stories warrants immediate and forceful action from the governor and state legislators.”New Jersey Network News: “A recent New York Times series onconditions at New Jersey’s halfway houses caused a stir throughout thestate, prompting calls for an examination of the entire system and stricteroversight. But what are the prospects for real systemic change?”The Press of Atlantic City: “Gov. Chris Christie is not shy when it comesto doling out criticism. He’s not shy about demanding results. Over theyears, he’s developed a reputation for being impatient — impatient for theDemocrats to act, impatient for tax relief, impatient at fielding off-topicquestions from ‘idiot’ reporters.But where is that impatience when it comes to the issue of improving oversight of the state’stroubled halfway houses?”Philadelphia Inquirer, which has a large readershipin New Jersey: “New Jersey’s prison halfway houseshave become havens for drugs, gangs, sex, assaults,and robberies. They are so poorly monitored it is impossible for them to be places where convictscan make orderly transitions to the outside world.”


IMPACTAs soon as the series was published, lawmakers in both houses of theNew Jersey Legislature announced hearings. They were held in late July.abner, the court’swho wrote lastn, said by phonete issue of whetherwitness testimonyto decide.juries are going tonce, so we want totools with which toyewitness testimoupremeCourt alsothat requires lawofficers to recordan identificationicers must identifyst law enforcementh whom a witnessout the identificadea detailed sumassaid.rd that is preparedportant details asred,” the rule says,eclare the identifisible.aurin, an assistantw at the Universityhas written aboutf criminal justice,nstructions are imsejurors will nowly educated abouttemporary undertwhat makes eyeificationmore ornessesarching it beforet least two boxes.lf-brother, Stanleynown as Muscles,he house as theed it.pleaded guilty ino counts of officialter he used publicCORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESSployees said.’s HomeBy SAM DOLNICKTRENTON — Legislators saidThursday that the state shouldconsider posting corrections officersinside privately run halfwayhouses, a move that would significantlyincrease New Jersey’soversight of the troubled facilities.Many of the state’s halfwayhouses are the size of prisons, buthave little of the security, relyingupon low-wage workers with littletraining instead of professionalofficers.Proposals to increase staffingand security were discussed at aState Senate hearing, where lawmakerspressed halfway houseoperators and senior state officialsabout escapes, drug use andviolence in the facilities.Legislators said they were disturbedthat the halfway housenetwork had arisen with minimaloversight and regulation.“It’s been basically, we cut acheck and hope for the best,” saidSenator Barbara Buono, a Democratfrom Edison and the vicechairwoman of the LegislativeOversight Committee, which conductedthe hearing.The hearing, before a standingroom-onlycrowd, came a monthafter a series in The New YorkTimes detailed widespread dysfunctionin the state-regulatedsystem of halfway houses, whichare intended to rehabilitate paroleesand inmates finishing theirprison terms.Community Education Centers,the company that dominatesthe halfway house system andhas recently come under fire,sought to bolster support bypacking the room with staff membersand former inmates. GaryM. Lanigan, the corrections commissioner,acknowledged problemswith the halfway houses,saying, “There have been horrificacts that have happened.”But he defended the systemand said his department tripledthe number of inspections fromtwo years ago. He said officialshad cracked down on contrabandand escapes. “If this is going tobe a model that is used nationally,we have to make sure it works,and I think we have made sure itworks,” Mr. Lanigan said.Gov. Chris Christie, who hasbeen a champion of halfwayhouses and has close ties to CommunityEducation, brushed asidecriticism of the system on Thursday.“There are always going toarms folded against his chest.Last month, the Legislature,which is controlled by Democrats,approved a measure requiringthe Corrections Departmentto disclose more informationabout halfway house operations.Mr. Christie used a lineitemveto to weaken the requirements,saying the measure wasburdensome.At the hearing on Thursday,John J. Clancy, the chief executiveof Community Education,strongly defended his company’srecord, saying, “New Jersey hasthe best community correctionssystem in the country.”Mr. Clancy founded CommunityEducation in the 1990s, promotinglarge halfway houses as away for states to cut prison costs.In the years since, he has courtedelected officials while signingnew government contracts inNew Jersey.He said Thursday that the facilitiesplayed a crucial role inkeeping inmates from returningto crime when they re-enteredsociety.“The New Jersey system issuccessful, precisely because itwas well thought out and formedin a public-private partnership,”he said. He added that he thoughtthe system should be significantlyexpanded.Mr. Clancy told the senatorsthat violence inside the facilitieswas not an issue, saying though28,000 inmates had passedthrough Talbot Hall, the company’sflagship halfway house,there had been only four fightsthere since it opened in 1998.He referred to the 2009 murderof an inmate, Derek West Harris,who was killed in another CommunityEducation halfway house,as an isolated episode that couldnot have been avoided.Mr. Clancy dismissed the articlesin The Times, which were repeatedlycited by senators andspeakers during the hearing, as“grossly inaccurate.”After Mr. Clancy’s testimony,Ms. Buono said that she was suspiciousof the company’s agenda.“I think the profit motive is reallypoisoning the well,” she said.Senator Robert M. Gordon, aDemocrat from Bergenfield andthe committee chairman, said heplanned to draft legislation tohelp fix the system, and wantedto explore assigning professionalofficers to the halfway houses.“We have police officers atsporting events,” he said. “I’mLAURA PEDRICK FOR THE NEW YORK TIMESJohn Clancy of Community Education Centers spoke Thursday.Focus on Halfway HousesAt a State Senate Hearingnths before an exhearingon a fareLhota said Thursncrease,which wasinto effect on Jan.e pushed back twoials estimate thewill generate $450ly for the authority.autioned that the fikfor the authorityile,” though not asad been in recentf the transportationard hinted at posonsat its meetingshe changes also inmidday,night orice on 11 bus routes.North Railroad willper week, its largxpansionsince theption in 1983. Mostons will come ond during off-peakort to meet “nonridership”that hasCHESTER HIGGINS JR./THE NEW YORK TIMESThe extension of the G train to Church Avenue, which has been temporary, will be permanent.vicesity employees saidnts in the recreangand finance dewellas in the mayokingfor anythinguption, and corrupsaidGeorge Muslmanwho has longMack of ineptitudef Mr. Mack’s higheeshave resignednked to crimes inry,theft and drughe mayor has alsoof impropriety inits filed by formernd properties heeatedly faced foreentsarrived at Mr.just after midnighty and spent aboutfive hours searching it beforeleaving with at least two boxes.Mr. Mack’s half-brother, StanleyDavis, also known as Muscles,sat outside the house as theagents searched it.Mr. Davis pleaded guilty inJanuary to two counts of officialmisconduct after he used publicemployees and equipment fromthe Trenton Water Works to doprivate work on three homes.Investigators also searched thehomes of the mayor’s brother,Ralphiel Mack, who is the headfootball coach at Trenton CentralHigh School, and Joseph Giorgianni,a sex offender who hadbeen one of the mayor’s earliestand biggest donors.Separately, the county prosecutorsaid his investigation intocity government was continuing.JULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESSncluding that of the mayor, city employees said.earching Mayor’s Homeviolence in the facilities.Legislators said they were disturbedthat the halfway housenetwork had arisen with minimaloversight and regulation.“It’s been basically, we cut acheck and hope for the best,” saidSenator Barbara Buono, a Democratfrom Edison and the vicechairwoman of the LegislativeOversight Committee, which conductedthe hearing.The hearing, before a standingroom-onlycrowd, came a monthafter a series in The New YorkTimes detailed widespread dysfunctionin the state-regulatedsystem of halfway houses, whichare intended to rehabilitate paroleesand inmates finishing theirprison terms.Community Education Centers,the company that dominatesthe halfway house system andhas recently come under fire,sought to bolster support bypacking the room with staff membersand former inmates. GaryM. Lanigan, the corrections commissioner,acknowledged problemswith the halfway houses,saying, “There have been horrificacts that have happened.”But he defended the systemand said his department tripledthe number of inspections fromtwo years ago. He said officialshad cracked down on contrabandand escapes. “If this is going tobe a model that is used nationally,we have to make sure it works,and I think we have made sure itworks,” Mr. Lanigan said.Gov. Chris Christie, who hasbeen a champion of halfwayhouses and has close ties to CommunityEducation, brushed asidecriticism of the system on Thursday.“There are always going tobe mistakes that are made,” Mr.Christie, a Republican, told reporters.“The important thing isto correct the mistakes whenthey’re made.”Legislators have criticized Mr.Christie for his close ties to CommunityEducation. He has visitedand praised its facilities manytimes, and one of his closestfriends and political advisers,William J. Palatucci, is a seniorvice president at the company.During the hearing, Mr. Palatuccistood at the back of the room, hisIn the years since, he has courtedelected officials while signingnew government contracts inNew Jersey.He said Thursday that the facilitiesplayed a crucial role inkeeping inmates from returningto crime when they re-enteredsociety.“The New Jersey system issuccessful, precisely because itwas well thought out and formedin a public-private partnership,”he said. He added that he thoughtthe system should be significantlyexpanded.Mr. Clancy told the senatorsthat violence inside the facilitieswas not an issue, saying though28,000 inmates had passedthrough Talbot Hall, the company’sflagship halfway house,there had been only four fightsthere since it opened in 1998.He referred to the 2009 murderof an inmate, Derek West Harris,who was killed in another CommunityEducation halfway house,as an isolated episode that couldnot have been avoided.Mr. Clancy dismissed the articlesin The Times, which were repeatedlycited by senators andspeakers during the hearing, as“grossly inaccurate.”After Mr. Clancy’s testimony,Ms. Buono said that she was suspiciousof the company’s agenda.“I think the profit motive is reallypoisoning the well,” she said.Senator Robert M. Gordon, aDemocrat from Bergenfield andthe committee chairman, said heplanned to draft legislation tohelp fix the system, and wantedto explore assigning professionalofficers to the halfway houses.“We have police officers atsporting events,” he said. “I’mjust wondering whether there thewould be some benefit in justhaving a uniformed presence insome of these facilities.”Correction officers unions disapproveof that idea, saying thesystem needs wholesale revisions.“If the true intent is to rehabilitatelow-level and about-tobe-releasedoffenders, then youdon’t need officers there,” JoeAmato, president of the unionthat represents Essex CountyCorrection officers, told the senators.ncludes a study ofmisidentifications,ed by the New Jersdecision.tructions are far,” he added, “butarkable road mapexplain eyewitnessors.”heck, co-director ofProject at the BenozoSchool of Law,led a friend-of-thenthe New Jerseye changes “criticalandpredicted theons would not onlyries are instructed,lso influence trialsnd the evidenceatprecedes them,des will know thatons will be given.the way evidenceby prosecutors andrs defend,” he said,whole system willimprove.”Stuart J. Rabner, the court’schief justice, who wrote lastyear’s decision, said by phonethat the ultimate issue of whetherto trust eyewitness testimonywas for a jury to decide.“We expect juries are going tohear this evidence, so we want togive them the tools with which toevaluate the eyewitness testimony,”he said.The State Supreme Court alsoissued a rule that requires lawenforcement officers to recorddetails of how an identificationwas made. Officers must identifyanyone, not just law enforcementpersonnel, with whom a witnesshas spoken about the identificationand include a detailed summaryof what was said.“If the record that is preparedis lacking in important details asto what occurred,” the rule says,a judge may declare the identificationinadmissible.Jennifer E. Laurin, an assistantprofessor of law at the Universityof Texas, who has written aboutthe politics of criminal justice,said the new instructions are importantbecause jurors will nowbe “more fully educated aboutour most contemporary understandingabout what makes eyewitnessidentification more orless reliable.”ing on Eyewitnessesns from a, ‘Memorylproof.’ity employees saidnts in the recreaingand finance dewellas in the mayokingfor anythinguption, and corrupsaidGeorge Muslmanwho has longfive hours searching it beforeleaving with at least two boxes.Mr. Mack’s half-brother, StanleyDavis, also known as Muscles,sat outside the house as theagents searched it.Mr. Davis pleaded guilty inJanuary to two counts of officialmisconduct after he used publicJULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESSncluding that of the mayor, city employees said.earching Mayor’s HomeBy SAM DOLNICKTRENTON — Legislators saidThursday that the state shouldconsider posting corrections officersinside privately run halfwayhouses, a move that would significantlyincrease New Jersey’soversight of the troubled facilities.Many of the state’s halfwayhouses are the size of prisons, buthave little of the security, relyingupon low-wage workers with littletraining instead of professionalofficers.Proposals to increase staffingand security were discussed at aState Senate hearing, where lawmakerspressed halfway houseoperators and senior state officialsabout escapes, drug use andviolence in the facilities.Legislators said they were disturbedthat the halfway housenetwork had arisen with minimaloversight and regulation.“It’s been basically, we cut acheck and hope for the best,” saidSenator Barbara Buono, a Democratfrom Edison and the vicechairwoman of the LegislativeOversight Committee, which conductedthe hearing.The hearing, before a standingroom-onlycrowd, came a monthafter a series in The New YorkTimes detailed widespread dysfunctionin the state-regulatedsystem of halfway houses, whichare intended to rehabilitate paroleesand inmates finishing theirprison terms.Community Education Centers,the company that dominatesthe halfway house system andhas recently come under fire,sought to bolster support bypacking the room with staff membersand former inmates. GaryM. Lanigan, the corrections commissioner,acknowledged problemswith the halfway houses,saying, “There have been horrificacts that have happened.”But he defended the systemand said his department tripledthe number of inspections fromtwo years ago. He said officialshad cracked down on contrabandand escapes. “If this is going tobe a model that is used nationally,we have to make sure it works,and I think we have made sure itworks,” Mr. Lanigan said.Gov. Chris Christie, who hasbeen a champion of halfwayhouses and has close ties to CommunityEducation, brushed asidecriticism of the system on Thursday.“There are always going toarms folded against his chest.Last month, the Legislature,which is controlled by Democrats,approved a measure requiringthe Corrections Departmentto disclose more informationabout halfway house operations.Mr. Christie used a lineitemveto to weaken the requirements,saying the measure wasburdensome.At the hearing on Thursday,John J. Clancy, the chief executiveof Community Education,strongly defended his company’srecord, saying, “New Jersey hasthe best community correctionssystem in the country.”Mr. Clancy founded CommunityEducation in the 1990s, promotinglarge halfway houses as away for states to cut prison costs.In the years since, he has courtedelected officials while signingnew government contracts inNew Jersey.He said Thursday that the facilitiesplayed a crucial role inkeeping inmates from returningto crime when they re-enteredsociety.“The New Jersey system issuccessful, precisely because itwas well thought out and formedin a public-private partnership,”he said. He added that he thoughtthe system should be significantlyexpanded.Mr. Clancy told the senatorsthat violence inside the facilitieswas not an issue, saying though28,000 inmates had passedthrough Talbot Hall, the company’sflagship halfway house,there had been only four fightsthere since it opened in 1998.He referred to the 2009 murderof an inmate, Derek West Harris,who was killed in another CommunityEducation halfway house,as an isolated episode that couldnot have been avoided.Mr. Clancy dismissed the articlesin The Times, which were repeatedlycited by senators andspeakers during the hearing, as“grossly inaccurate.”After Mr. Clancy’s testimony,Ms. Buono said that she was suspiciousof the company’s agenda.“I think the profit motive is reallypoisoning the well,” she said.Senator Robert M. Gordon, aDemocrat from Bergenfield andthe committee chairman, said heplanned to draft legislation tohelp fix the system, and wantedto explore assigning professionalofficers to the halfway houses.“We have police officers atsporting events,” he said. “I’mLAURA PEDRICK FOR THE NEW YORK TIMESJohn Clancy of Community Education Centers spoke Thursday.Focus on Halfway HousesAt a State Senate Hearing, JULY 20, 2012abner, the court’swho wrote lastn, said by phonete issue of whetherwitness testimonyto decide.juries are going toence, so we want totools with which toyewitness testimoupremeCourt alsothat requires lawofficers to recordan identificationficers must identifyst law enforcementth whom a witnessbout the identificadea detailed sumwassaid.rd that is preparedmportant details asred,” the rule says,eclare the identifisible.Laurin, an assistantw at the Universityhas written aboutf criminal justice,nstructions are imsejurors will nowly educated abouttemporary undertwhat makes eyetificationmore ortnessesBy SAM DOLNICKTRENTON — Legislators saidThursday that the state shouldconsider posting corrections officersinside privately run halfwayhouses, a move that would significantlyincrease New Jersey’soversight of the troubled facilities.Many of the state’s halfwayhouses are the size of prisons, buthave little of the security, relyingupon low-wage workers with littletraining instead of professionalofficers.Proposals to increase staffingand security were discussed at aState Senate hearing, where lawmakerspressed halfway houseoperators and senior state officialsabout escapes, drug use andviolence in the facilities.Legislators said they were disturbedthat the halfway housenetwork had arisen with minimaloversight and regulation.“It’s been basically, we cut acheck and hope for the best,” saidSenator Barbara Buono, a Democratfrom Edison and the vicechairwoman of the LegislativeOversight Committee, which conductedthe hearing.The hearing, before a standingarmsfolded against his chest.Last month, the Legislature,which is controlled by Democrats,approved a measure requiringthe Corrections Departmentto disclose more informationabout halfway house operations.Mr. Christie used a lineitemveto to weaken the requirements,saying the measure wasburdensome.At the hearing on Thursday,John J. Clancy, the chief executiveof Community Education,strongly defended his company’srecord, saying, “New Jersey hasthe best community correctionssystem in the country.”Mr. Clancy founded CommunityEducation in the 1990s, promotinglarge halfway houses as away for states to cut prison costs.In the years since, he has courtedelected officials while signingnew government contracts inNew Jersey.He said Thursday that the facilitiesplayed a crucial role inkeeping inmates from returningto crime when they re-enteredsociety.“The New Jersey system issuccessful, precisely because itwas well thought out and formedin a public-private partnership,”LAURA PEDRICK FOR THE NEW YORK TIMESJohn Clancy of Community Education Centers spoke Thursday.Focus on Halfway HousesAt a State Senate Hearingd and careful thanexists anywhere insaid Brandon L.w professor at theVirginia and the auictingthe Innocent,”since both sides will know thatsuch instructions will be given.“It changes the way evidenceis presented by prosecutors andthe way lawyers defend,” he said,adding, “The whole system willportant because jurors will nowbe “more fully educated aboutour most contemporary understandingabout what makes eyewitnessidentification more orless reliable.”ns,” said Joseph J.gency’s chairman.investments we aretoday will give ourore connections toant to go, more ophtsand weekends,ason to stay out ofd take buses, submmutertrains ins,the first of whichhis fall, will cost $29year to carry out.day comes months before an expectedpublic hearing on a fareincrease. Mr. Lhota said Thursdaythat any increase, which wasexpected to go into effect on Jan.1, 2013, could be pushed back twomonths. Officials estimate thefare increase will generate $450million annually for the authority.Mr. Lhota cautioned that the financialoutlook for the authoritywas “still fragile,” though not asfragile as it had been in recentyears.Members of the transportationnd Expand ServicesTE ZERNIKEth the Federal Butigationraided Cityton, New Jersey’sursday, a day afterhomes of its belear,his brother and antributor who is aoffender., Tony Mack, a Demcedaccusations ofd mismanagementk office two yearsebook page and in acity letterhead, Mr.enied violating thebut said he woulder comment.. confirmed theclined to say whichuded or which offiefocus of the investigation.City employees saidthey saw agents in the recreation,purchasing and finance departments,as well as in the mayor’soffice.“They’re looking for anythinginvolving corruption, and corruptionis there,” said George Muschal,a councilman who has longaccused Mr. Mack of ineptitudeand cronyism.A number of Mr. Mack’s highlevelappointees have resignedafter being linked to crimes includingforgery, theft and drugpossession. The mayor has alsobeen accused of impropriety inseveral lawsuits filed by formeremployees, and properties heowns have repeatedly faced foreclosure.About 10 agents arrived at Mr.Mack’s home just after midnighton Wednesday and spent aboutfive hours searching it beforeleaving with at least two boxes.Mr. Mack’s half-brother, StanleyDavis, also known as Muscles,sat outside the house as theagents searched it.Mr. Davis pleaded guilty inJanuary to two counts of officialmisconduct after he used publicemployees and equipment fromthe Trenton Water Works to doprivate work on three homes.Investigators also searched thehomes of the mayor’s brother,Ralphiel Mack, who is the headfootball coach at Trenton CentralHigh School, and Joseph Giorgianni,a sex offender who hadbeen one of the mayor’s earliestand biggest donors.Separately, the county prosecutorsaid his investigation intocity government was continuing.JULIO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESSay after searching several offices, including that of the mayor, city employees said.ity Hall After Searching Mayor’s Homeoversight of the troubled facilities.Many of the state’s halfwayhouses are the size of prisons, buthave little of the security, relyingupon low-wage workers with littletraining instead of professionalofficers.Proposals to increase staffingand security were discussed at aState Senate hearing, where lawmakerspressed halfway houseoperators and senior state officialsabout escapes, drug use andviolence in the facilities.Legislators said they were disturbedthat the halfway housenetwork had arisen with minimaloversight and regulation.“It’s been basically, we cut acheck and hope for the best,” saidSenator Barbara Buono, a Democratfrom Edison and the vicechairwoman of the LegislativeOversight Committee, which conductedthe hearing.The hearing, before a standingroom-onlycrowd, came a monthafter a series in The New YorkTimes detailed widespread dysfunctionin the state-regulatedsystem of halfway houses, whichare intended to rehabilitate paroleesand inmates finishing theirprison terms.Community Education Centers,the company that dominatesthe halfway house system andhas recently come under fire,sought to bolster support bypacking the room with staff membersand former inmates. GaryM. Lanigan, the corrections commissioner,acknowledged problemswith the halfway houses,saying, “There have been horrificacts that have happened.”But he defended the systemand said his department tripledthe number of inspections fromtwo years ago. He said officialshad cracked down on contrabandand escapes. “If this is going tobe a model that is used nationally,we have to make sure it works,and I think we have made sure itworks,” Mr. Lanigan said.Gov. Chris Christie, who hasbeen a champion of halfwayhouses and has close ties to CommunityEducation, brushed asidecriticism of the system on Thursday.“There are always going tobe mistakes that are made,” Mr.Christie, a Republican, told reporters.“The important thing isto correct the mistakes whenthey’re made.”Legislators have criticized Mr.Christie for his close ties to CommunityEducation. He has visitedand praised its facilities manytimes, and one of his closestfriends and political advisers,William J. Palatucci, is a seniorvice president at the company.During the hearing, Mr. Palatuccistood at the back of the room, hisitem veto to weaken the requirements,saying the measure wasburdensome.At the hearing on Thursday,John J. Clancy, the chief executiveof Community Education,strongly defended his company’srecord, saying, “New Jersey hasthe best community correctionssystem in the country.”Mr. Clancy founded CommunityEducation in the 1990s, promotinglarge halfway houses as away for states to cut prison costs.In the years since, he has courtedelected officials while signingnew government contracts inNew Jersey.He said Thursday that the facilitiesplayed a crucial role inkeeping inmates from returningto crime when they re-enteredsociety.“The New Jersey system issuccessful, precisely because itwas well thought out and formedin a public-private partnership,”he said. He added that he thoughtthe system should be significantlyexpanded.Mr. Clancy told the senatorsthat violence inside the facilitieswas not an issue, saying though28,000 inmates had passedthrough Talbot Hall, the company’sflagship halfway house,there had been only four fightsthere since it opened in 1998.He referred to the 2009 murderof an inmate, Derek West Harris,who was killed in another CommunityEducation halfway house,as an isolated episode that couldnot have been avoided.Mr. Clancy dismissed the articlesin The Times, which were repeatedlycited by senators andspeakers during the hearing, as“grossly inaccurate.”After Mr. Clancy’s testimony,Ms. Buono said that she was suspiciousof the company’s agenda.“I think the profit motive is reallypoisoning the well,” she said.Senator Robert M. Gordon, aDemocrat from Bergenfield andthe committee chairman, said heplanned to draft legislation tohelp fix the system, and wantedto explore assigning professionalofficers to the halfway houses.“We have police officers atsporting events,” he said. “I’mjust wondering whether there thewould be some benefit in justhaving a uniformed presence insome of these facilities.”Correction officers unions disapproveof that idea, saying thesystem needs wholesale revisions.“If the true intent is to rehabilitatelow-level and about-tobe-releasedoffenders, then youdon’t need officers there,” JoeAmato, president of the unionthat represents Essex CountyCorrection officers, told the senators.NEW YORKTHE NEW YORK TIMES FRIDAY, JULY 20, 2012ewitness testimonyinized carefully.emory is not foolstructionssay. “Revealedthat humanot like a video rewitnessneed onlyember what hapryis far more cominstructions,whichSept. 4, address thee State Supremeed last August in aling that concludeditional test for reliwitnesstestimony,ited States Supremet in 1977, was outuldbe revised.applies only in Newling was widely herainingthe most exwof decades of scirchon eyewitnessnstructions are exinfluentialas otherlook to revise theireyewitness identifillegal experts said.structions are farand careful thanexists anywhere insaid Brandon L.w professor at theVirginia and the auictingthe Innocent,”a book that includes a study ofeyewitnessmisidentifications,which was cited by the New Jerseycourt in its decision.“These instructions are farfrom perfect,” he added, “butthey are a remarkable road mapfor how you explain eyewitnessmemory to jurors.”Barry C. Scheck, co-director ofthe Innocence Project at the BenjaminN. Cardozo School of Law,which had filed a friend-of-thecourtbrief in the New Jerseycase, called the changes “criticallyimportant” and predicted thenew instructions would not onlyaffect how juries are instructed,but would also influence trialsthemselves and the evidencegatheringthat precedes them,since both sides will know thatsuch instructions will be given.“It changes the way evidenceis presented by prosecutors andthe way lawyers defend,” he said,adding, “The whole system willimprove.”Stuart J. Rabner, the court’schief justice, who wrote lastyear’s decision, said by phonethat the ultimate issue of whetherto trust eyewitness testimonywas for a jury to decide.“We expect juries are going tohear this evidence, so we want togive them the tools with which toevaluate the eyewitness testimony,”he said.The State Supreme Court alsoissued a rule that requires lawenforcement officers to recorddetails of how an identificationwas made. Officers must identifyanyone, not just law enforcementpersonnel, with whom a witnesshas spoken about the identificationand include a detailed summaryof what was said.“If the record that is preparedis lacking in important details asto what occurred,” the rule says,a judge may declare the identificationinadmissible.Jennifer E. Laurin, an assistantprofessor of law at the Universityof Texas, who has written aboutthe politics of criminal justice,said the new instructions are importantbecause jurors will nowbe “more fully educated aboutour most contemporary understandingabout what makes eyewitnessidentification more orless reliable.”yto Get Warning on EyewitnessesInstructions from acourt, like, ‘Memoryis not foolproof.’By SAM DOLNICKTRENTON — Legislators saidThursday that the state shouldconsider posting corrections officersinside privately run halfwayhouses, a move that would significantlyincrease New Jersey’soversight of the troubled facilities.Many of the state’s halfwayhouses are the size of prisons, buthave little of the security, relyingupon low-wage workers with littletraining instead of professionalofficers.Proposals to increase staffingand security were discussed at aState Senate hearing, where lawmakerspressed halfway houseoperators and senior state officialsabout escapes, drug use andviolence in the facilities.Legislators said they were disturbedthat the halfway housenetwork had arisen with minimaloversight and regulation.“It’s been basically, we cut acheck and hope for the best,” saidSenator Barbara Buono, a Democratfrom Edison and the vicechairwoman of the LegislativeOversight Committee, which conductedthe hearing.The hearing, before a standingroom-onlycrowd, came a monthafter a series in The New YorkTimes detailed widespread dysfunctionin the state-regulatedsystem of halfway houses, whichare intended to rehabilitate paroleesand inmates finishing theirprison terms.Community Education Centers,the company that dominatesthe halfway house system andhas recently come under fire,sought to bolster support bypacking the room with staff membersand former inmates. Garyarms folded against his chest.Last month, the Legislature,which is controlled by Democrats,approved a measure requiringthe Corrections Departmentto disclose more informationabout halfway house operations.Mr. Christie used a lineitemveto to weaken the requirements,saying the measure wasburdensome.At the hearing on Thursday,John J. Clancy, the chief executiveof Community Education,strongly defended his company’srecord, saying, “New Jersey hasthe best community correctionssystem in the country.”Mr. Clancy founded CommunityEducation in the 1990s, promotinglarge halfway houses as away for states to cut prison costs.In the years since, he has courtedelected officials while signingnew government contracts inNew Jersey.He said Thursday that the facilitiesplayed a crucial role inkeeping inmates from returningto crime when they re-enteredsociety.“The New Jersey system issuccessful, precisely because itwas well thought out and formedin a public-private partnership,”he said. He added that he thoughtthe system should be significantlyexpanded.Mr. Clancy told the senatorsthat violence inside the facilitieswas not an issue, saying though28,000 inmates had passedthrough Talbot Hall, the company’sflagship halfway house,there had been only four fightsthere since it opened in 1998.He referred to the 2009 murderof an inmate, Derek West Harris,who was killed in another CommunityEducation halfway house,LAURA PEDRICK FOR THE NEW YORK TIMESJohn Clancy of Community Education Centers spoke Thursday.Focus on Halfway HousesAt a State Senate HearingNxxx,2012-07-20,A,016,Bs-BW,E1abner, the court’s, who wrote laston, said by phoneate issue of whetherwitness testimonyto decide.t juries are going toence, so we want totools with which toeyewitness testimo-Supreme Court alsothat requires lawofficers to recordw an identificationfficers must identifyust law enforcementith whom a witnessbout the identificaudea detailed sumwassaid.ord that is preparedimportant details asrred,” the rule says,declare the identifiissible.Laurin, an assistantaw at the Universityo has written aboutof criminal justice,instructions are imusejurors will nowlly educated aboutntemporary underutwhat makes eyetificationmore ortnessesearching it beforeat least two boxes.alf-brother, Stanleyknown as Muscles,the house as theed it.pleaded guilty ino counts of officialfter he used publicO CORTEZ/ASSOCIATED PRESSmployees said.’s HomeBy SAM DOLNICKTRENTON — Legislators saidThursday that the state shouldconsider posting corrections officersinside privately run halfwayhouses, a move that would significantlyincrease New Jersey’soversight of the troubled facilities.Many of the state’s halfwayhouses are the size of prisons, buthave little of the security, relyingupon low-wage workers with littletraining instead of professionalofficers.Proposals to increase staffingand security were discussed at aState Senate hearing, where lawmakerspressed halfway houseoperators and senior state officialsabout escapes, drug use andviolence in the facilities.Legislators said they were disturbedthat the halfway housenetwork had arisen with minimaloversight and regulation.“It’s been basically, we cut acheck and hope for the best,” saidSenator Barbara Buono, a Democratfrom Edison and the vicechairwoman of the LegislativeOversight Committee, which conductedthe hearing.The hearing, before a standingroom-onlycrowd, came a monthafter a series in The New YorkTimes detailed widespread dysfunctionin the state-regulatedsystem of halfway houses, whichare intended to rehabilitate paroleesand inmates finishing theirprison terms.Community Education Centers,the company that dominatesthe halfway house system andhas recently come under fire,sought to bolster support bypacking the room with staff membersand former inmates. GaryM. Lanigan, the corrections commissioner,acknowledged problemswith the halfway houses,saying, “There have been horrificacts that have happened.”But he defended the systemand said his department tripledthe number of inspections fromtwo years ago. He said officialshad cracked down on contrabandand escapes. “If this is going tobe a model that is used nationally,we have to make sure it works,and I think we have made sure itworks,” Mr. Lanigan said.Gov. Chris Christie, who hasbeen a champion of halfwayhouses and has close ties to CommunityEducation, brushed asidecriticism of the system on Thursday.“There are always going toarms folded against his chest.Last month, the Legislature,which is controlled by Democrats,approved a measure requiringthe Corrections Departmentto disclose more informationabout halfway house operations.Mr. Christie used a lineitemveto to weaken the requirements,saying the measure wasburdensome.At the hearing on Thursday,John J. Clancy, the chief executiveof Community Education,strongly defended his company’srecord, saying, “New Jersey hasthe best community correctionssystem in the country.”Mr. Clancy founded CommunityEducation in the 1990s, promotinglarge halfway houses as away for states to cut prison costs.In the years since, he has courtedelected officials while signingnew government contracts inNew Jersey.He said Thursday that the facilitiesplayed a crucial role inkeeping inmates from returningto crime when they re-enteredsociety.“The New Jersey system issuccessful, precisely because itwas well thought out and formedin a public-private partnership,”he said. He added that he thoughtthe system should be significantlyexpanded.Mr. Clancy told the senatorsthat violence inside the facilitieswas not an issue, saying though28,000 inmates had passedthrough Talbot Hall, the company’sflagship halfway house,there had been only four fightsthere since it opened in 1998.He referred to the 2009 murderof an inmate, Derek West Harris,who was killed in another CommunityEducation halfway house,as an isolated episode that couldnot have been avoided.Mr. Clancy dismissed the articlesin The Times, which were repeatedlycited by senators andspeakers during the hearing, as“grossly inaccurate.”After Mr. Clancy’s testimony,Ms. Buono said that she was suspiciousof the company’s agenda.“I think the profit motive is reallypoisoning the well,” she said.Senator Robert M. Gordon, aDemocrat from Bergenfield andthe committee chairman, said heplanned to draft legislation tohelp fix the system, and wantedto explore assigning professionalofficers to the halfway houses.“We have police officers atsporting events,” he said. “I’mLAURA PEDRICK FOR THE NEW YORK TIMESJohn Clancy of Community Education Centers spoke Thursday.Focus on Halfway HousesAt a State Senate Hearing


A16ØØNIMPACTTUESDAY, JULY 24, 2012Sharp Words on New Jersey Halfway-House System at Assembly HearingBy SAM DOLNICKTRENTON — Prominent Democraticlawmakers expressed deep skepticismabout New Jersey’s privately run halfwayhouses on Monday, signaling duringa contentious hearing that they favoreda major overhaul of the system.During more than seven hours of testimony,the state lawmakers sharplyquestioned officials and halfway-houseoperators about security, treatment programsand state contracts.“Something is terribly wrong,” saidAssemblyman Charles S. Mainor, aDemocrat of Hudson County and thechairman of the Assembly Law andPublic Safety Committee, which heldthe hearing. “We are prepared to takewhatever legislative action is necessaryto remedy these problems.”The lawmakers focused much of theirattention on the company that dominatesthe system, Community EducationCenters, which has longstandingties to Gov. Chris Christie.Mr. Christie’s close friend and politicaladviser William J. Palatucci is a seniorvice president of Community Education.Mr. Christie, a Republican, has defendedthe system, saying his administrationis addressing shortcomings inhow the halfway houses handle thousandsof inmates and parolees a year.RICHARD PERRY/THE NEW YORK TIMESAssemblyman Joseph P. Cryan at ahearing in Trenton on Monday.But Democrats who control theLegislature have assailed state regulatorsover their oversight of the system.The hearing was the second called bylawmakers in the wake of a three-partseries in The New York Times lastmonth on New Jersey’s halfway houses.The articles in the series highlighted escapes,violence, drugs, fraud and otherproblems in the system, which the statehas long called a national model.The State Senate held a hearing onthe system on Thursday.At the hearing on Monday, AssemblymanJoseph P. Cryan, a Democratfrom Union County who has emerged asan outspoken critic of the system, askedthe state comptroller, Matthew Boxer,to open an investigation into the financesof Community Education.Community Education, which is privatelyheld, has had severe financial difficultiesover the last four years, whichwere not disclosed to regulators becauseof the structure of the company’scontracts.State law prohibits companies fromobtaining halfway-house contracts.Community Education operates its halfwayhouses through a nonprofit groupthat it controls, under an arrangementthat the state has permitted since the1990s.Mr. Boxer’s office said after the hearingthat it would consider opening an inquiry.Democrats said they were angeredthat Community Education had not sentits chief executive, John J. Clancy, totestify. Another senior executive, RobertMackey, appeared instead.“It’s absolutely a disgrace that he’snot here,” Mr. Cryan said.Assemblyman Mainor quickly dismissedDr. Mackey, which led dozens ofCommunity Education workers in theaudience to leave the chamber.Dr. Mackey was briefly called back toanswer more questions about how CommunityEducation obtained its contractsthrough the nonprofit group.Democrats on the committee questionedwhether the state should requireCommunity Education to disclose moreinformation about its finances.“Is C.E.C. too big to fail?” Mr. Cryanasked. “If they went under, would wehave to bail them out?”Mr. Boxer said it would be “verymuch in the state’s interest to have anawareness of their finances.”Dr. Mackey said his company had anexcellent record. “We’ve always paidour bills; we will always continue to payour bills,” he said.Two Republicans on the committee,Gregory P. McGuckin of Ocean Countyand Erik Peterson of Hunterdon County,sought to counter the Democrats’ criticism,praising Community Educationfor providing a service that saved thestate government millions of dollars annually.Assemblyman Peterson said thecomptroller’s office, which conductedan audit last year that criticized oversightof the system, did not need to gofurther.“You seem to be pretty tenacious anddiligent,” Mr. Peterson told Mr. Boxer.“If you believed that there was somethingamiss, you would have used thatsubpoena power.”Gary M. Lanigan, Mr. Christie’s correctionscommissioner, said the systemdid a good job helping prisoners returnto society.After the articles were published inThe Times last month, Mr. Christie orderedmore inspections of halfwayhouses, and Mr. Lanigan said he had directedtwo senior corrections officials tovisit every one of the 20 or so halfwayhouses that serve state inmates. He saidthe improvements so far were “the beginningof the process, not the end.”At the hearing, halfway-house operatorsand corrections officials playeddown the prevalence of contraband insidethe facilities.But Rich Brown, chairman of the unionrepresenting state corrections officers,which opposes prison privatization,testified that contraband was aproblem.He said a raid two weeks ago at ahalfway house run by the KintockGroup yielded 44 cellphones, 10 emptyliquor bottles, several bags of pills and“six bags of a green leafy substance.”THE APPRAISALELIZABETH A. HARRISCuratingA GalleryOf GarbageThe Assembly hearing took more than seven hours — one of the longestand most dramatic in recent memory in Trenton, legislative aides said.On 99th Street between First and SecondAvenues in Manhattan, just a fewblocks from some of the city’s most palatialhomes, the air is tinged with a certainsourness. There, there is a SanitationDepartment garage where giant orangetrucks snooze in a dark groundfloorspace. More than a dozen whitegarbage trucks sit in rows outside.This two-story brick building is nothingspecial, even a bit decrepit, but asyou walk up its crooked metal staircasetoward the second floor, you will findthe first hint that something wholly different,even a little dazzling, hides amidall that dingy gray: there it is, on theright, a painting of perky pink flowerson a Big Birdyellowbackgroundhangingin thestairwell. Itlooks like thesort of thingthat shouldhang on anursery wall.And in fact, itprobably oncedid.The secondfloor of thisgarage, longdeemed too weak to support vehicles,has become a gallery of sorts, home tohundreds and hundreds of paintings,photographs, posters and objects, neatlyframed and mounted on the walls.They are varied in every way — fromstyle to age to material — except forone: almost every last piece of the collectionwas rescued from householdtrash by New York City’s sanitationworkers as they went along their dailyroutes.Over here is a portrait of a grumpylookingWinston Churchill, and overthere, a very nice pastel copy of HenriMatisse’s “Woman With a Hat.” Thereare photographs of the BrooklynBridge; landscapes done in watercolor;ancient tricycles and toy trucks; andfour electric guitars, one without pickups,another without strings, arrangedCommittee MeetingofASSEMBLY LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE"Testimony from invited guests regarding the current status of halfway housesoperating under the New Jersey Department of Corrections"LOCATION: Committee Room 11State House AnnexTrenton, New JerseyMEMBERS OF COMMITTEE PRESENT:Assemblyman Charles S. Mainor, ChairAssemblyman Nelson T. AlbanoAssemblyman Daniel R. BensonAssemblyman Sean ConnorsAssemblyman Joseph CryanAssemblywoman Bonnie Watson ColemanAssemblyman Robert D. CliftonAssemblyman Ronald S. DancerAssemblyman Gregory P. McGuckinAssemblyman Erik PetersonALSO PRESENT:DATE: July 23, 2012PHOTOGRAPHS BY LIBRADO ROMERO/THE NEW YORK TIMESNelson Molina has been collecting treasures from household trash for the past 20 years, all of it on display in a Sanitation Department parking garage.around a Michael Jackson poster andgold-sequined tie. There is even a Masterof Business Administration diplomafrom Harvard hanging by a window.And, in the midst of it all, is a handpaintedsign that reads, “Treasure inthe Trash by Nelson Molina.”“I would call it more than a gallery,”said Robin Nagle, who teaches at NewYork University and is the anthropologistin residence at the Sanitation Department.“Maybe a collection, a museum,an archive. Maybe we need a newword. Maybe he’ll become a word!‘Hey, you’ve made a Molina!’”Mr. Molina, 58, a lifelong New Yorkerand a sanitation worker since 1981, be-Continued on Page A18Meeting Recorded and Transcribed by10:30 a.m.Wendy S. Whitbeck Nicole A. Brown Andrew WynneOffice of Legislative Services Assembly Majority Assembly RepublicanCommittee Aide Committee Aide Committee AideThe Office of Legislative Services, Public Information Office,Hearing Unit, State House Annex, PO 068, Trenton, New JerseyAssemblyman Charles Mainor:“We’ve seen the news reportsdetailing escapes, gang violence,drugs, and sexual abuse at thesefacilities; and we’ve learned ofthe tragic consequences that havecome from that.”Assemblyman Joseph Cryan:“The installments in that seriesshocked our conscience.”Ibrahim Sharif, former ParoleBoard official: “Why are we sittinghere today? Because the New YorkTimes and Sam Dolnick broughtthis issue to our table.”The garage’s second floor has become home to hundreds of objects. A slide show is at nytimes.com/nyregion.


IMPACTOthers followed up with calls for more investigations:State Senator Barbara Buono, vice chair of the Senate LegislativeOversight Committee: “Even after both the Senate and Assembly havecompleted their first round of hearings on the halfway houses, morestories continue to pour in of residents not getting the vital servicesneeded to successfully transition back into their communities. Moreinvestigation is clearly needed, and the Office of the Comptroller shouldbe leading those efforts.”The hearings also sparked more editorials:Philadelphia Inquirer:“Hearings into the lax oversight ofNew Jersey’s prison halfway houseswon’t do much good if they don’t dig intothe fundamental question of whether thestate should scrap the privatized programand assume direct control with its ownemployees.The separate Assembly and stateSenate hearings this week come a monthafter a New York Times series reportedthat some halfway houses have becomedens of violence, drug abuse, and sexualassault. They have become holding tanks forprisoners awaiting trial and include inmateswith such violent histories they should havenever been assigned to live in low-securitysettings. It’s no wonder some residents havebegged to be returned to a regular prison.”


IMPACTThe Star-Ledger, the state’s largest newspaper:“The newspaper report cited a pattern ofescapes, gang activity, violence and drug use atCEC’s halfway houses in New Jersey — held upas a national model for helping inmates movesmoothly back into the community.There have been more than 5,000 escapes andparole absconders from the halfway houses since2005, the report said. In one facility, violence was sorampant that inmates asked to go back to prison.As New Jersey takes steps to keep nonviolentoffenders out of state prisons, are we allowing anew level of violent incarceration take shape?What’s needed is a formal investigation.”Asbury Park Press:“Legislation seeking more halfway-houseoversight has been around for years, but gainedtraction after a series of New York Timesstories on the deficiencies of the system.Lawmakers are seeking more control ofa halfway-house system reportedly riddledwith violence, drug use and security lapses,yet Christie decides those companies alreadyinvolved in running that system don’t need theadditional oversight? They should be the firstto be scrutinized.” Nxxx,2012-08-09,A,020,Bs-BW,EA20 ØØ N THE NEW YORK TIMES NEW YORGovernor Christie pushedback by trying to undercutthe first effortsat halfway house reform.Christie Seeks to WeakenHalfway Houses’ OversightBy SAM DOLNICKGov. Chris Christie’s administrationcame under heavy criticismfrom legislators last monthat hearings on New Jersey’s privatelyrun halfway houses, whichhandle thousands of inmateseach year. On Wednesday, Mr.Christie fired back, saying hewould significantly weaken ameasure approved by the legislatorsto increase their oversight ofthe system.It was the second time Mr.Christie moved to weaken newregulations for halfway houses.The Democratic-controlledLegislature approved a bill inJune that required the state auditorto conduct reviews of majorcorrections contracts with privateoperators, including thoseveto message — essentially returningthe measure to the Legislaturewith a demand for revisions.“We must be diligent in ensuringthat privatization effortssave tax dollars and streamlinegovernment operations,” he saidin the statement.His aides later explained thathe did not believe that the billshould apply to current contractsbecause his administration alreadyproperly supervised them.His statement on the legislationwas assailed by Democraticlawmakers, who accused him ofprotecting Community EducationCenters, the state’s biggest halfwayhouse provider. The company’ssenior vice president, WilliamJ. Palatucci, is Mr. Christie’sformer law partner and close politicaladviser.At a New JerseyBy SARAH WHEATONMitt Romney’s arrival at aNew Jersey fund-raiser onWednesday capped a breakneckdrive along New Jersey’s highwaysfollowed by a surreal pursuitby an Orthodox Jewish weddingparty, according to a reporteron the trip.After a campaign appearancein Des Moines and a flight toNewark Liberty InternationalAirport, Mr. Romney, the presumptiveRepublican presidentialnominee, was whisked by motorcadealong the New JerseyTurnpike and the Garden StateParkway.“Hitting speeds of up to 90miles per hour,” and escorted byunmarked police cars, the motorcadearrived in Lakewood, acity about 50 miles south of theairport, at 3:35 p.m., five minutesahead of schedule and more than80 minutes before the event was


REACTIONBut by November, the scrutiny of Community Education, the largest halfway houseprovider, had grown so intense that its senior vice president, William J. Palatucci, whois a close friend and political adviser to Mr. Christie, resigned from the company.Executive at Company Tied to New Jersey’s Halfway Houses Is LeavingBy SAM DOLNICKWilliam J. Palatucci, one of Gov. ChrisChristie’s closest friends and politicaladvisers, said Thursday that he wasstepping down as a senior executive atCommunity Education Centers, the politicallyconnected company that dominatesthe troubled system of halfwayhouses in New Jersey.The resignation comes in the wake ofwidespread criticism of CommunityEducation, particularly by Democraticstate legislators, who said the company’shalfway houses, which are as largeas prisons, were dangerous and poorlysupervised.Mr. Palatucci’s role at the companybecame a flash point after The NewYork Times published a series of articleson escapes, violence and drug useat the halfway houses. The articles alsodescribed poor government oversightacross the system, which handles thousandsof inmates annually in New Jersey.Political analysts said Mr. Palatucci’sdeparture signaled that Mr. Christie, aRepublican, wanted to avoid a potentialliability before he began his campaignfor another term next year or weighedrunning for the White House in 2016.“It’s better not to have him associatedwith an enterprise that has becomevery controversial and very damaging,”said Ross K. Baker, a political scienceprofessor at Rutgers. “Any possible embarrassmentthat could result with hiscontinued association with the halfwayhouses is something that they want toavoid.”Mr. Palatucci, a lawyer who hasworked as a registered lobbyist, said hehad no definite plans and was leaving“to do something different,” accordingto a spokesman, Eric Shuffler.Mr. Shuffler said Mr. Palatucci did notresign because of political considerations.“One has nothing to do with theother,” Mr. Shuffler said.Mr. Christie told reporters: “I wouldn’tread anything into that in terms ofpolitics. No. I think it’s just Bill has decidedit’s time for him to move on to anotheropportunity, and that’s what he’sdoing.”When Mr. Christie ran for governor in2009, Mr. Palatucci served as a seniorcampaign adviser while continuing towork at Community Education. He wasalso co-chairman of Mr. Christie’s inaugurationcommittee in 2010.New Jersey has been a trailblazer insetting up a network of privately runhalfway houses, which resemble prisonsbut have little of the security. Theyare meant to rehabilitate inmates, butare often chaotic, filled with contrabandand gang activity, and they offer shoddytreatment, The Times found.After the articles were published inJune, Mr. Christie, who had been aResigning after criticismthat many detentioncenters are poorly run.strong supporter of Community Education,vowed to step up inspections at thefacilities.In July, the Legislature held two daysof hearings on the system that focusedheavily on Community Education.While Mr. Palatucci was not called totestify, many Democratic legislatorswanted to know whether his relationshipwith the governor had benefitedthe company.Last year, Community Education wasthe only bidder for a $130 million contractawarded by Essex County, whosechief executive is one of Mr. Christie’smost important allies. That deal washeavily criticized as being weighted inCommunity Education’s favor.Mr. Palatucci has long been prominentin Republican circles. He was amajor fund-raiser for President GeorgeW. Bush and used his connections tohelp Mr. Christie, his former law partner,secure a position as the UnitedStates attorney for New Jersey.When Mr. Palatucci joined CommunityEducation in 2005, the company alreadyhad deep ties to Democratic politiciansin New Jersey and was a majorpolitical donor.Mr. Palatucci offered entree to Republicansin New Jersey. He also playeda key role as Community Educationsought to expand to Alabama and otherstates.That national expansion has faltered,leaving the company teetering on theedge of bankruptcy in recent years.“Political analysts said Mr. Palatucci’s departure signaled that Mr. Christie, aRepublican, wanted to avoid a potential liability before he began his campaign foranother term next year or weighed running for the White House in 2016.‘It’s better not to have him associated with an enterprise that has become verycontroversial and very damaging,’ said Ross K. Baker, a political science professorat Rutgers. ‘Any possible embarrassment that could result with his continuedassociation with the halfway houses is something that they want to avoid.’”Bergen Record:“Despite his political resume, Palatucci’s namewas not well known to many in New Jersey untilThe New York Times published an eye-openingseries last summer on the state’s network ofprivatized halfway houses, including those run byCommunity Education Centers.The newspaper stories detailed regular escapes,gang activity and violence inside some of thefacilities, and also outlined Christie’s longtime tiesto Palatucci.”


REACTIONDemocrats in Trenton PushNew Halfway-House RulesBy SAM DOLNICKProminent Democrats in theNew Jersey Assembly are proposinglandmark legislation thatwould significantly tighten oversightof the state’s troubled halfwayhouses and curb the operationsof the politically influentialcompany at the heart of the system.The measures, introduced thisweek, could threaten the state’slargest halfway house, in Newark,which has 1,200 beds and isrun by the company, CommunityEducation Centers. The lawmakersalso want more rigorous inspectionsof the system and anoverhaul of halfway-house contracts.The privately run halfwayhouses in New Jersey, many ofwhich are as large as prisons,handle thousands of inmates annually.Officials had long praisedthe system as a national modelthat saves the taxpayers moneyand rehabilitates criminals.But after a series of articles inThe New York Times this yeardescribed a system that faced littlegovernment scrutiny and wasplagued by escapes, violence anddrugs, lawmakers responded byconducting their own inquiry intothe halfway houses, includingholding hearings. They said in recentinterviews that they now believedthat the system had goneawry.“There has not been enoughaccountability,” said AssemblymanCharles Mainor, a HudsonCounty Democrat who is chairmanof the Law and Public SafetyCommittee and the main sponsorof the legislative package.“We want to make sure thatthe residents of the state of NewJersey, along with the inmates,are safe and that the money thatwe’re spending is being utilizedin the right way,” he said.The reform measures set up amajor battle with Gov. ChrisChristie, who has long championedthe halfway houses and hasclose ties to Community EducationCenters.Over the summer, Mr. Christie,a Republican, vetoed modest effortsapproved by the Democratic-controlledLegislature thatwere intended to take the firststeps toward increasing oversightof the system.The Christie administration declinedon Tuesday to comment onthe new bills.Community Education hascalled the criticism of the systemunfair, saying it does an outstandingjob rehabilitating inmatesby giving them counseling,drug treatment and job training.Asked about the new legislation,Eric Shuffler, a spokesmanfor Community Education, said:“We’ve always worked constructivelywith policy makers of bothparties. We’ll approach anychanges considered by the Legislaturein that manner.”Community Education runs sixhalfway houses in New Jerseyand has received more than halfa billion dollars in revenues fromstate and county agencies overthe past decade.The company has for years cultivatedties to politicians of bothmajor parties and is a major politicalcontributor. It has closeties to Democrats in the Legislature,including the Assemblyspeaker, Sheila Oliver of EssexCounty.Ms. Oliver’s spokesman saidTuesday that the bills would bethoroughly reviewed. But othersin the Legislature appeared to becoming to the company’s defense.Two Assembly Democrats, AlbertCoutinho of Essex Countyand Gordon M. Johnson of BergenCounty, introduced a bill toallow Community Education andother for-profit companies to contractdirectly with the state, astep that had been forbiddenwhen the Legislature created thesystem. (Community Educationreceives its contracts through anIncreased oversightand inspections aresought for a troubledsystem in New Jersey.affiliated nonprofit agency to getaround the law.)The measure to allow for-profitcompanies in the system does notappear to have widespread support,but underscores how theLegislature is increasingly focusingon the fate of the system.The reform measures introducedby Mr. Mainor would prohibitcounties from sending inmateswho have not yet beenconvicted of crimes to halfwayhouses. The company’s largesthalfway house, the 1,200-bedDelaney Hall in Newark, handlesthese so-called pretrial inmates,most from the Essex County Jail.As a result, Delaney Hall hasbecome a de facto annex to thecounty jail. But experts say halfwayhouses were never intendedto play such a role. Pretrial inmates,they say, are far less likelyto be helped by counseling andother services, in large part becausethey are often in the systemfor short stints.The Times highlighted the caseof Derek West Harris, a Newarkbarber who was sent to DelaneyHall as a pretrial inmate after beingarrested on minor trafficcharges. A few days later, he waskilled by fellow inmates.A separate bill in the legislativepackage prohibits the CorrectionsDepartment from awardinghalfway-house contracts, a rebuketo officials there who havebeen criticized for their oversightof the system.In late November, Assembly Democratsannounced a major reform package:“Prominent Democrats in the New JerseyAssembly are proposing landmark legislationthat would significantly tighten oversight ofthe state’s troubled halfway houses and curbthe operations of the politically influentialcompany at the heart of the system.”Star-Ledger:“TRENTON — Assembly Democratsintroduced a number of measures this weekintended to provide stricter oversight ofcompanies that run the state’s strained halfwayhouses, including several aimed at the largest ofthem: the 1,200-bed Delaney Hall in Newark.The measures were introduced five monthsafter the New York Times published a series ofarticles detailing frequent escapes, violence andlax oversight at the privately operated facilitiesthat supplement the state’s prison system.”


REACTIONNewspapers in other states took notice:Beaver County Times (Pennsylvania):“An investigation by The New YorkTimes found more than 5,000 inmates hadescaped from those houses since 2005.Many, according to The New York Timesarticle, had permission to leave on workreleaseprograms and never returned.Beaver County District AttorneyAnthony Berosh said he wondersif a similar situation could arise inPennsylvania.”The Miami Herald:“That’s the business model. That’s wherefor-profit penal operations find their profit.The New York Times just publishedan investigation into privatized half-wayhouses in New Jersey, with similarly overworked,underpaid workforces, a startlingrecord of abuse and violence, and 5,100escapes since 2005.But for-profit penal companies in NewJersey, just like in Florida, have lots offantastic political influence.”In New Jersey law enforcement circles,the articles created a sensation.“Your articles are all the Public Defenders are talking about these days.”PETER GUARINO, a prosecutor at the Essex County Prosecutor’soffice in Newark, wrote to Mr. Dolnick


REACTIONCurrent and former workers and inmates at halfway houses also spoke up:“The Harbor’s gross negligence on cleanliness, therapy, and oversight is an outrage to thosewho actually asked for help and could not legitimately receive it.”“Great article, I work with the company, and the things I see on a regular basis are absolutelyunbelievable. From conditions to violence and drugs ...”“Throughout my employment with the company I come to grips with the corruption and thepolitics.”“I was a resident of the facility in Kearny which is referenced in this article for approximately2 months in late 2007. The name of the place is Talbot Hall. Three things were abundantly clear.First, there was drug use on a daily basis. Second, the staff was poorly trained and only interestedin processing people, not rehabilitating them. Third, some of the staff and the inmates were friendsfrom the street and extra privileges were handed out on that basis.”Other journalists reacted as well:“I’m blown away by your halfway-house story. Absolutely invincible reporting & verynicely written. Years ago at Texas Monthly, I wrote frequently about the abuses (andenormous clout) of private prison firms, and later published a novel with that themepresent in the narrative. But I don’t think anyone needs to be a private-prison junkieto be amazed by your work here.”Robert Draper, correspondent for GQ and contributorto The New York Times Magazine(ProPublica)Killer investigation: In NJ halfway houses, escapees streamout as a penal business thrives, @nytimes reports. http://nyti.ms/Ll60yD(ProPublica)Another blockbuster on NJ halfway houses, by @samdolnick: At aHalfway House, Bedlam Reigns http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/nyregion/at-bo-robinson-a-halfway-house-in-new-jersey-bedlam-reigns.html?_r=1&hp …Among the best investigative reporting this year:http://nyti.ms/11MN95d by @samdolnick #muckreads2012(ProPublica)


REACTIONOrdinary readers also responded:Joan Reivich ● Lansdowne, Pa.I want you to know how grateful I am to you for the articles. They took my breathaway with their clarity and investigative reporting. I hope that they result insubstantial changes to a terrible system, expose the potential problems with prisonprivatization and the willful blindness on the part of those who profit from thecollusion between government officials and private corporations.Paul Blumberg professor of sociology emeritus, CUNY●Absolutely magnificent. This is the gold standard of investigative reporting.Congratulations and thank you for this series.NER New Jersey●The piece exposes how corrupt and dangerous the entire privatized outsourcingof these criminal justice functions has been and remains in the state of NJ, and itclearly identifies the fact that both parties have been complicit in it.Julia Fort Worth, TX●You perform an absolutely essential service to us when you allow reporters toinvestigate issues like this.NW Central NJ●So many questions emerge reading this. So many questions which are gnawing andgalling. What is the cost to society of the non productive lives in this (or any penalsystem)? What is the actual dollar cost to the taxpayers of this system and thetraditional penal system?Jenn NY●Thank you NYTimes for exceptional reporting. It’s mind-boggling why state-fundedinstitutions do not have stricter oversight.TTFN New York●Some of the best reporting I’ve read in the NYT in years. Brilliantly done.Joanne NYC/SF/BOS●The tragedies in this series are almost too much for my mind and heart to handle.


IMPACTBy the end of the year, pressure continued to mount on the Legislatureto adopt sweeping changes. Numerous lawmakers introduced reform bills,which are now pending.New Jersey State Assembly:A3502 Requires state officials to conduct quarterly site visits at halfway houses.A3503 Establishes task force to review system and make recommendationsto improve security and inmate services.A3504 Prohibits pre-trial county inmates charged with first, second, or third degree crimesfrom being placed in halfway houses.A3505 Requires stringent rules on state contracts for halfway houses.A3506 Requires stringent rules on financial disclosure for halfway house contractors.A3339 Requires community notification when sex offender is placed in halfway house;prohibits certain county inmates in halfway house.A3499 Improves contracting procedures for halfway houses.AR124 Requires State Comptroller to conduct follow-up audit of halfway houses.New Jersey State Senate:S2380 Requires halfway houses to install 24-hour security cameras and providetelephone access to ombudsperson, who will investigate complaints.S2381 Sets forth procedures for transporting halfway house inmates.S2382 Requires the state to regulate placement of pre-trial county inmates in halfway houses.S2383 Requires stringent rules on financial disclosure for halfway house contractors.S2384 Requires stringent rules on financial disclosure for halfway house contractors.S2385 Improves contracting procedures for halfway houses.

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines