Trenton- State of New Jersey Department of Corrections Commissioner Jack Terhune has announced his resignation, effective January 2001.
After a distinguished career of more than 30 years in law enforcement and public service, Mr. Terhune said his decision was entirely personal. “I have proudly served the State of New Jersey for three decades, as a patrolman in Teaneck, as the Sheriff of Bergen County, and most recently as the head of the second largest agency in the Garden State.
“In each of these experiences it has been my honor to work alongside some of the finest members of law enforcement and government in the nation. Where sacrifice was demanded, it was freely given, where leadership was called for, it was boldly answered. I am proud to have headed the Department of Corrections, a highly trained agency helping to ensure the safety and security of the State of New Jersey that makes the state a great place to work, live and raise a family.
“However, there is a time for all things, and I have long wrestled with the idea of spending more time with my family and exploring various professional opportunities. The time has come for me to express my deepest thanks to the nearly 10,000 employees of the NJDOC, both officers and civilians, who shared my vision of a proactive law enforcement agency and helped realize that vision in the new millennium. It has truly been my privilege to serve under Governor Whitman and I remain assured that my successor and the department will benefit from her leadership.”
While serving as Bergen County Sheriff, Terhune was named Commissioner of Corrections in March 1998. Terhune’s initiatives placed the DOC among the most innovative state agencies in the nation. The implementation of the “Zero Tolerance” Policy significantly reduced the intake of controlled substances into DOC facilities by the standardizing of custody uniforms and inmate personal clothing, and the elimination of the inmate food packages. Under Zero Tolerance, Terhune also introduced the Drug Interdiction Unit, a mobile team of investigators equipped with drug detecting canines and electronic equipment, responsible for random drug searches of facilities and civilian visitors.
Other significant accomplishments include the completion of the first comprehensive National Institute of Corrections staffing analysis in the history of the agency, the reduction of overtime costs from $83 million in 1998 to $30 million in FY 2002, and the development of the Security Threat Group Management Unit (STGMU), dedicated to reducing internal disruption and subversion by gang members who pose a serious physical risk to themselves and DOC staff. As a result of STGMU, assaults on staff have been reduced by 35% and disruptive behavior is down 80%. Also, disciplinary actions against inmates are drastically reduced system-wide thanks to Terhune’s successful Inmate Incentive Program, which reinforces positive inmate
Terhune is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ, and holds a Master's Degree in Criminal Justice from John Jay College, City University of New York. He received special training at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va., and is a Certified Public Manager. He belongs to various professional organizations including the National Sheriffs Association, the American Correctional Association and the National Institute of Corrections.
He is happily married to his wife, Barbara. They have one child, Matthew.