TRENTON – Garry Lanigan, commissioner of the Department of Corrections, said Thursday that the department has operated a leaner operation over the past year, reducing cost and giving ex-offenders the tools to integrate back into society.
When Chris Christie was elected governor, there were 1,500 people in community jails, he told an Assembly Budget Committee. In April, there were 307.
The reduction yielded $20 million in savings, according to Lanigan.
Over the past year, the department has seen 283 positions cut and overtime costs have been reduced.
There have also been successful reintegration programs. In 2010, 1,102 GED tests were taken and 711 people passed them, he said.
He said that cell phones in prisons remain a serious threat. A bill to jam cell phones has not yet become law and he said its passage is essential.
“Jamming cell phones is the most effective way,” he said.