TRENTON – Assemblyman Joe Cryan blasted John Clancy, chairman and CEO of Community Education Centers, for not showing up at an Assembly committee hearing today focusing on the conditions of halfway houses that his for-profit company runs.
“It is an insult to every citizen in this state….and to not have his ass here is a disgrace,” he said to Robert Mackey, the chief operating officer who was filling in for Clancy before the Law and Public Safety Committee hearing.
“It’s an absolute disgrace he’s not here. It’s reprehensible he’s not here,” said Cryan, (D-20), Union.
Clancy was apparently not able to attend the hearing. He did attend the Senate committee hearing last week.
The hearings follow a report in The New York Times that detailed numerous problems, including escapes and assaults, as well as a report by the state Comptroller.
Earlier in the seven-hour hearing, Cryan dismissed the Corrections Department’s follow-up inspection as “a short term fix.”
“It’s a one shot.”
But DOC Commissioner Gary Lanigan “respectfully disagreed” with Cryan’s opinion.
But Assemblyman Nelson Albano also said “there seems to be a lack of accountability.”
Lanigan dismissed The New York Times expose on halfway houses in New Jersey as “somewhat biased,” but nonetheless added that halfway houses will be stronger.
Lanigan also told the committee that in case CEC goes belly up, “We would go in and pick up the inmates.”
The jails still have 1,200 to 1,300 beds that could hold the halfway house residents who’d be displaced.
Still, Cryan said more needs to done to make halfway houses better alternatives to prisons.
“We need to be responsive at every level.”