Tag Archive: Bill Orr

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.

A box of newborn kittens

promoted by Rosi

If you haven’t noticed, New Jersey Republican Legislators rarely disagree with Chris Christie.  I enjoyed this characterization of the Legislative caucus where they would stand on Christie’s plans for a tax cut while revenues continue to come up short:

Republicans will no doubt support this. They are so submissive to Christie that, in their caucus meetings, they are often confused with a box of newborn kittens.

Republicans used to just send press releases out challenging anything a Democrat thought was a good idea. Now they send out press releases challenging Democrats and expressing their undying love of anything Christie. Take for example Jon Bramnick, who following the announcement that New Jersey created 17,000 jobs (while it saw the unemployment rate rise to 9.2%) put out a press release with this screaming headline:

NEW JERSEY’S MAY JOB GROWTH NUMBERS SET A MODEL FOR COUNTRY TO FOLLOW

Bramnick seems to forget some of the other important statistics from that “model for the country to follow.” As Bill Orr wrote about, there is more to the job creation story including the rise in the unemployment rate. In addition, New Jersey saw it’s economic output decrease last year ranking 47th in the country and our gross domestic product actually decreased by .5%. And then there’s our housing market, where New Jersey foreclosures are way up, by 118% over last year giving us the 2nd highest increase nationwide.

You see there’s always more to the story than Christie and his Republican “newborn kittens” like to share. But I’m sure they’d just meow and say I’m being a Democratic pessimist in sharing the rest of the story.

Occupy Trenton attacked overnight

Last night, at around 1am, a young woman occupier at Occupy Trenton’s new Tent City was hit in the shoulder as a car with four men in it drove by shooting paintballs at

In the diary just under this one, Bill Orr detailed the ways in which Occupy Trenton is growing, and solidifying new avenues of outreach along  

“When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again”

After WW II Johnny’s return was greeted with “Hurrah Hurrah.” After Vietnam his return was not so happy. Yesterday the last combat troops left Iraq, and gradually Johnny and Jane will return to New Jersey. They leave behind a country with significant unresolved issues and a war for which the results are yet to be determined. Of the 50,000 (plus contractors) who are staying in Iraq, many will not be immune to combat. Of those who are leaving, many will be reassigned to Afghanistan or other theaters. Other New Jerseyans will continue to be assigned there to join the “non-combatants.”

Most returning to New Jersey are excited to be reunited with loved ones and friends and feel a huge sense of relief. However, they face an unemployment rate about double our 9.7%. (Nationally for veterans the rate is 21%.) Many have physical wounds and ailments requiring treatment from our overburdened VA hospitals. Most will experience some level of post-traumatic stress disorder, in some cases severe enough to lead to suicide. Earlier this month, Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) hosted a forum for hundreds of Central New Jersey veterans  addressing concerns about health care, the GI Bill, veterans employment, and other issues.

Medical needs for vets are substantial and will be long-lasting. The VA offers 5 years of free health care and a 180 day dental benefit. However for those who need in-patient care there is no VA hospital in southern NJ. Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-Cape May, Cumberland, Atlantic, hopes to change that. Also there are long waits for appointments throughout the system.

A NJ Senate committee released this week a non-partisan bill that would provide an income tax credit up to $10,000 to veterans who require psychological counseling and treatment. Senate Majority Leader Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) said she will also introduce a separate measure calling on Congress to pass a bill requiring that returnees receive a telephone call from properly trained personnel to determine their emotional, psychological, medical, and career needs and concerns at least once every 90 days.

“Vet-2-Vet,” a toll-free confidential help line, created five years ago by the NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs and UMDNJ responds to over 3,000 calls a year, but operates on year-to-year funding. Sen. Fred Madden (D-Turnersville) introduced legislation that would require the state to permanently fund the program.

Caldwell College held a Jobs Fair last week for vets, and more such fairs are needed. The VA provides some help with its website Vet Success which connects vets and employers. The NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs provides small individual and business grants. For others who  want to continue their education there is the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

What can we do? Welcome vets home with open arms. Support legislation for better medical care, counseling and job services. Encourage employers to hire vets. Urge our government to withdraw even more troops from Iraq and start the process immediately to bring an end to our fruitless war in Afghanistan.