Halfway house follow-up review planned; Buono applauds Comptroller

TRENTON – The State Comptroller’s Office plans to undertake a “follow-up review” of its original audit on the state’s halfway house program, a Democratic lawmaker announced Friday.

Comptroller Matthew Boxer said he intends to follow up on his office’s audit of the state’s Department of Corrections Residential Community Release Program. Boxer made the statement in a letter to Sen. Barbara Buono, (D-18), Metuchen.

Boxer told lawmakers during a Senate Legislative Oversight hearing earlier in the month that a 2011 audit on the program found significant areas of concern, including nearly $500,000 in overpayments to companies that manage the halfway houses as well as a lack of oversight over the program by the DOC.

The state’s Comptroller also said during an Assembly panel that the law on contracts rewarded to service providers for halfway houses could use more clarity.

“The last few weeks have made it clear that New Jersey’s halfway houses have systematic problems that need to be investigated and addressed,” Buono said in a statement.

“I look forward to working with the Comptroller to make sure the follow-up audit of the private halfway houses is comprehensive and holds everyone involved accountable,” she said. “We can no longer blindly trust that taxpayer dollars are being well-spent in these facilities to help residents successfully reintegrate into the community.”

Boxer’s letter was in response to the senator’s July 24 request for a follow-up audit of the Office of Community Programs and the state’s halfway house program, according to Buono’s office. Halfway house follow-up review planned; Buono applauds Comptroller