(TRENTON) – Assembly Law and Public Safety Chairman Charles Mainor released the following statement Monday as his committee concluded a hearing on a troubling lack of oversight at halfway houses operating under the Christie administration’s Department of Corrections:
“I’d like to thank everyone for coming here today.
“This was obviously a long and involved hearing, but also a necessary one when it comes to the public safety of New Jersey residents.
“I want to especially thank all the members of this committee for their cooperation and questions today, as well as those who took the time to testify and provide us with their valuable insight.
“As chairman, I will say that this committee will now take some time to digest what we heard today, but I can assure you that our work is only beginning.
“Today we gathered facts and opinion, and while doing so, raised questions that require further looking into.
“Are our halfway houses being used as intended?
“Has the administration’s response to the recent concerns been strong enough in regards to criminal activity within these halfway houses?
“What is the financial condition of the provider?
“How has the apparent lack of a competitive marketplace impacted the quality of these services and what can be done about that?
“Is privatization the best way to go?
“Are these halfway houses doing the best job possible when it comes to security?
“Are halfway house residents receiving property services and attention?
“Are we communicating properly with families?
“We heard today from Stella Tulli, who in remembrance of her sister asked us to engage in a serious reform effort.
“We heard her words, and we will do just that.
“Members of this committee have already asked the comptroller to take a further look into this and to follow up, and we will begin researching what legislative fixes are needed to ensure a halfway house system that saves taxpayer money and ensures their safety.
“This isn’t about politics.
“This is about people and public safety.