Tag Archive: corrections

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.

Gloucester County Jail Closing

I haven’t seen anyone post on Blue Jersey about the Gloucester County freeholders closing their jail and laying off a significant amount of corrections officers.  It’s been touted to save Gloucester County taxpayers a quarter of a billion dollars over the course of the proposed 25 year contract.

It’s a plan created in secret by Gloucester County Freeholder Director Bob Damminger and Cumberland County Jail Warden (and co-chair of the Cumberland County Democrats) Bob Balicki. It was so secret that the Republican freeholder liaison to the Gloucester County Jail didn’t know about it until a couple days before the freeholders voted on the plan. He still voted for the plan, by the way. The vast majority of corrections officers heard of the plan from the media.

The plan calls for Gloucester County to send prisoners to Cumberland County. 33 lucky Gloucester County Corrections officers would remain employed at the Gloucester County Jail to process prisoners and transport them 38 miles to the Cumberland County Jail. If Cumberland County does not have room for prisoners, they would be lodged in Salem County or at several counties north of Gloucester who have shown an interest in taking prisoners.

The corrections officers are understandably upset. A lot of them will either lose their jobs. They’ve created a Facebook page and a website to try to spread their opinions/facts and to organize protests against the Freeholders’ plans. It appears Gloucester County Republican Freeholder Vincent Nestore (the only freeholder to vote against this jail plan) is taking an active role in the Facebook page.

There is a lawsuit being filed by attorney (and constant pain in the Democrats’ butts) Mark Cimino on behalf of the Gloucester DOC unions. Salem and Cumberland counties are also concerned that they’d have to layoff their local employees to make room for Gloucester’s employees. There are a lot of obstacles to this plan – a plan I’m sure will happen some how, some way.

I don’t know what to make of all of this. I like the idea of saving $10 million a year. But I feel for the corrections officers losing their jobs. I don’t like the idea of union busting. I don’t think the county will be saving as much as they think. I think things will get more difficult for the courts and municipal police departments.

I’d love for some of you here on Blue Jersey to read up on the issue and give me some of your opinions/thoughts.

Under the Dome: Senate Budget committee looks at Transportation and Corrections

The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee is meeting today as they continue the budget hearings and they will review the proposed FY2011 budgets for the departments of Transportation and Corrections.

Transportation Commissioner James Simpson is scheduled to testify at 10 a.m. Representatives from NJ Transit and the Motor Vehicle Commission also will be present. There is plenty to talk about here as the Transportation Trust fund is in terrible shape and NJ Transit fare hikes happen on May 1.

Corrections Commissioner Gary Lanigan will address the panel at 1:30 p.m. Representatives from the State Parole Board also will be present. The hearings will be streamed live with audio and NJN will be carrying the hearing as well if you want to watch. Their live coverage is scheduled to begin at 10:00 am. I’ve embeded their feed: