Audit Finds Lax Oversight, Overpayment at N.J. Halfway Houses

Publication: The Wall Street Journal

Author: Lisa Fleisher


06/15/2011 - A state audit has found that New Jersey is overpaying some halfway house operators, providing lax oversight and not properly penalizing the homes for violations, such as inmate escapes.

The state Department of Corrections is supposed to oversee and inspect the facilities that are home to an average of 2,720 residents on any given day, including surprise visits. But the audit found inspector’s visits are hardly surprises, and contracts are granted based on “inconsistent and incomplete information,” according to a state comptroller report released Wednesday.

At one halfway house, a schedule of inspections was tacked to the wall — including the schedule for “unannounced” visits.

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“The structure has been in place since 1994 with full disclosure and transparency,” the company said. “Most disappointing, is the failure to acknowledge that at least two independent and national research organizations, including the Pew Center on the States, have found that New Jersey’s prison population reduction and recidivism rate reduction are the among the best in the national over the same period.”

Read the full article Audit Finds Lax Oversight, Overpayment at N.J. Halfway Houses on The Wall Street Journal's Web site.

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