TRENTON – The Assembly speaker took the administration to task for removing language in the budget today regarding oversight of halfway houses.
Speaker Sheila Oliver said in a release that, “This is very concerning and troubling news.
“This language was placed in there to ensure the public safety of the general public, inmates and employees, and according to recent reports is sorely needed.
“The Assembly will certainly be moving forward on plans for hearings.”
Among other things, Gov. Chris Christie removed language regarding quarterly reporting and providing notice to the Joint Budget Oversight Committee.
Also, he took out language that specified reporting on “the actions taken to protect clients imprisoned for non-violent crimes from clients imprisoned for violent crimes.”
The issue became a focal point after the New York Times reported problems regarding escapes, gang activity, drugs and sexual abuse at halfway houses.
Assembly Law and Public Safety Chairman Charles Mainor also criticized the administration’s language-cutting.
“It’s astounding that the governor would reject provisions that would have improved oversight in the state’s halfway houses, in light of the widespread problems involving escapes, gang activity, drugs and sexual abuse that were recently reported.
“These measures were intended to preserve the safety of the inmates, staff and the community.
“I’m not sure how the governor can defend putting them at risk.”