TRENTON – An Essex County state senator joined the ranks of other officials who are calling on federal government to give a thorough review of New Jersey’s halfway house program.
Sen. Ron Rice, (D-28), Newark, announced sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that requests the nation’s top prosecutor investigate “a fundamental breakdown in the system that’s supposed to protect law-abiding citizens from violent crimes.”.
The state lawmaker’s letter was in support of one recently sent by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which requested a thorough review of BOP contracts with halfway houses and re-entry facilities.
“I personally support the senator’s call for an investigation which is long overdue,” Rice said.
The letters follow a series of reports in The New York Times, which did a 10-month investigation that found an alarming lack of oversight and dangerous conditions at halfway houses in New Jersey, leading to safety concerns in surrounding communities.
The Democrat-controlled Legislative Oversight Committee is planning a July 26 hearing to examine oversight of the state’s halfway houses and further examine the issue, a Senate spokesman confirmed.