Gary Lanigan’s Head: Stuck In the Sand

As reported by the Star-Ledger, New Jersey State Corrections Commissioner Gary Lanigan had the audacity to tell members of the state Senate Budget Committee today he has no major concerns about how halfway houses are run in New Jersey. “I think our program is working,” he said.

However, he stated he has not yet completed a report on the facilities mandated by the legislature. So how does he even know if the program is working? He does not, but he is certainly trying to defend his boss Gov. Christie who has supported the New Jersey halfway houses and shown little interest in reforming them. Christie has been particularly unconcerned about the largest and most egregious provider Community Education Centers, whose Senior Vice President until recently was Bill Palatucci, a friend and close advisor of the governor.

Other states have adopted performance incentive funding programs as explained in a report by Vera Institute of Justice. This approach is based on the idea that that if a provider returns fewer offenders to prison, the state incurs fewer costs, and some portion of the state savings should be shared with the provider. It uses measures like employment and education while incorporating “best practices” to achieve better outcomes.

The horrors of our halfway houses were brought into a sharp focus in a New York Times series UNLOCKED in June 2012. Today the Commissioner responded, We have very little violence in our halfway houses, calling the violence depicted in the New York Times series “anecdotal.” What the Commissioner should be seeking is better outcomes, not sticking his head in the sand.  

Comments (2)

  1. firstamend07

    The NJDOC gives out the contracts.

    The NJDOC has to oversee the contracts.

    The NJDOC needs the contracts to work.

    No outside, independent oversight on the contracts.

    The Commissioner can say anything he wants to say,who is going to argue?

    There has not been ,nor is there now,any accountablity.

    That ” report” to the Legislature? It was due last August. So do not hold your breath.

  2. Stella Tulli

    I have a personal interest in the way the halfway house situation is going…

    I feel the need to speak and remind everyone who reads this on my family’s dealings with this situation..

    My 21 year old sister was murdered by a CEC inmate who faked a seizure, transported to hospital and bc of  not having any law enforcement with him, he escaped.

    He then met up with my sister and ended her life.

    This may be a small “anecdote” to Lanigan, but to my family and myself- our lives continue in a nightmarish reality.. Reading this garbage from Lanigan and seeing how much time it is getting to move on halfway house reform is another punch to the gut.

    It floors and appalls me that Gary Lanigan is not bothered in the least on this situation.  

    The corrections commissioner in Pennsylvania admits there is a problem with the halfway house system, yet this guy can’t bring himself to admit it.  

    I can only assume the more he tells himself it isn’t a problem, it isn’t.  seems as if he needs to convince not only himself, but the lemmings as well.

    I have nothing further to add other then my 2 cents.. my personal story..

    People need to be reminded this is not only a political and money issue, it’s a personal issue as well.

    ask yourselves,, what if it were someone you love that was murdered by a “rehabilitated” offender?


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