Murder victim’s sister slams Christie corrections chief’s remarks

Something has bothered me all week since Bill Orr’s excellent post, Gary Lanigan’s Head: Stuck in the Sand. Lanigan, to refresh you, is Christie’s Corrections Commissioner. He’s not concerned about security and safety issues at NJ’s halfway houses, despite the fact it took the New York Times to get our state government to pay much attention, despite escapes during Hurricane Sandy (seriously, the system fails because of … weather?), and concerns that Christie friend/advisor/contributor till recently ran the corporate privatizer responsible for most of the issues. Lanigan’s job encompasses not only security concerns but also the rights of inmates and the community.

That said, his remarks to Senate Budget were so casual, as if he doesn’t take seriously how easily the system we’ve now let tycoons take over can be tricked by inmates. Yesterday, I chatted with Stella Tulli, whose sister was murdered by a man who fled a CEC facility by pretending to be sick. As irritating as Lanigan’s remarks were to me, they were something else beyond that for her. I thought part of what she wrote in Bill’s post deserved to be pulled up to our front page (which she gave permission for). Here’s how it looks to Stella:

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.

Comments (5)

  1. Stella Tulli

    Thank you for, once again, allowing me to share our story.. It goes without saying, this situation is not only tragic, but alarming..

    Lanigan is in charge,, yet he has no concerns,, why bother upholding a position where public safety is a concern, when it doesn’t matter to him?

    Someone needs a new career.  

  2. angelina77

    Mr. Lanigan,

    How can you knowingly ignore this situation of safety in halfway homes when a young woman was murdered because of your lack of concern!!

    Someone has been murdered!!! Obviously you cannot continue to cover up your incompetency it has already been demonstrated in this situation.  Are you waiting for more people to lose their lives at your hands?  I hope not, this has to change!

  3. firstamend07

    In the spring of 2012 the NY Times broke the story of how the Halfway House contracts had no oversight and therefore the Halfway Houses were running unregulated.

    Hearings were held and Legislators “acted” concerned.

    Christie ordered his Commissioner to perform immediate inspections .

    Laniagan ,at Legislative Hearings promised to have his two top people do reviews and inspections and report back  sometime in the fall of 2012.

    This promise bought him time.

    It is now 9 months since that promise and the Legislature still has not seen that Report.

    Budget hearings are now being held.At 2:00 P.M. on Tuesday April 20 the Commissioner will be answering questions at an Assembly hearing.

    Here are the members of that Committee:

       Budget Committee (Budget Hearings Only)

    Special Budget Hearings

    View Schedule

    Prieto, Vincent – Chair    View Votes

    Schaer, Gary S. – Vice-Chair    View Votes

    Brown, Christopher J.    View Votes

    Bucco, Anthony M.    View Votes

    Burzichelli, John J.    View Votes

    Coutinho, Albert    View Votes

    Johnson, Gordon M.    View Votes

    O’Scanlon, Declan J.    View Votes

    Singleton, Troy    View Votes

    Watson Coleman, Bonnie    View Votes

    Webber, Jay    View Votes

    Wimberly, Benjie E.    View Votes

    Contact them and tell them that all funding forthe NJDOC should be held out of the Budget until that promised report is made public.


  4. Big.Horn.Kid

    A look at one individual–DONNA SWEENEY–who Lanigan entrusts and protects–gives one an idea of the level of competence Lanigan has.  Lanigan appointed Sweeney, as his liaison to the NJ State Parole Board.  For this work she is paid $83,451 a year.  Under the protection of previous supervisors Sweeney has, in part, advanced herself, from a Classification Officer at Rahway Prison through bullying of subordinates and co-workers.  In addition she has used her body to secure promotions and to have disciplinary actions dropped.  Twenty years ago she was charged with improper contact with a male inmate at Rahway Prison.  Through a connection in Internal Affairs, at the time, she succeeded in having this proceeding dropped.  Whether her body was used as “currency” in this matter is unknown.  Sweeney was transferred to Clinton Prison For Women after the Rahway disciplinary action was dropped.  However Sweeney’s attempts at bullying co-workers at Clinton backfired and soon she was transferred to her present location–Central Office, West Trenton, NJ.  At Central Office Sweeney was NOT ostracized, but WELCOMED by her new supervisor Deborah A. Hansen.  Ironically, Hansen herself was having an affair with an inmate and, about 2 years later, was fired.  After Hansen’s departure Sweeney felt it was time for a promotion and found the right people to sleep with.  These trists DID pay-off.  Lanigan either did not vet Sweeney, at all, for the Parole Board position, or, he knows about Sweeney’s sordid past, and doesn’t care.  So here you have a classic example of the patients running the asylum.    


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