Public safety is enhanced through the development, coordination, administration and delivery of the Division of Programs and Community Services’ institutional and community-based initiatives and opportunities.
The mission of the Office of Community Programs is to prepare offenders to reenter society as productive citizens and to reduce the likelihood that they will relapse (return to drug and/or alcohol use) and/or recidivate (commit additional offenses). To that end, the office contracts with private not-for-profit agencies and provides for the effective administration of the contracts. The contracts provide the framework for the provision of community services to inmates and mandates oversight and monitoring for delivery of these services. The Office of Community Programs continually tracks the movement of Residential Community Release Program (RCRP) inmates through the continuum of care. The office also seeks to develop and maintain effective programs and services in collaboration with other departments, government subdivisions and stakeholders.
The NJDOC has embraced offender transition through community corrections. The Office of Community Programs currently contracts with six (6) Vendors for beds at 14 programs provided at 15 facility locations that provide an extensive variety of assessment, counseling, treatment and employment services to facilitate the inmates’ gradual reintegration into the community. Three programs are pre-release work release programs; eight programs are correctional treatment program that focus on criminogenic needs and generally have a work release component; two are assessment and treatment centers that provide orientation to male and female inmates to the treatment process as well as comprehensive assessments of each resident; and one is a special-need programs for males and females.. There are presently 2,657 RCRP beds under contract with the NJDOC.
NJDOC contracted Residential Community Release Programs consist of the following programs:
The Office of Community Programs also is responsible for the oversight of the NJDOC Liaison to theIntensive Supervision Program (ISP).
The ISP is a highly structured and rigorous form of community supervision that involves extensive client contact, surveillance, a restrictive curfew and urine monitoring. It is located in the judicial branch of government under the auspices of Probation Services in the Administrative Office of the Courts. A representative of the NJDOC serves as a member of the review panel, which screens, evaluates and recommends applicants to resentencing judges for acceptance to the program.
A cost-effective alternative to incarceration, the ISP permits carefully selected state-prison sentenced offenders to serve the remainder of their sentences in the community. Treatment and group meetings, monitored by ISP officers and/or professional therapists, are the cornerstone of the ISP and have set the program apart from other programs. The ISP mandates for all participants full-time employment, community service, maintenance of a budget and diary, payment of all court-ordered financial obligations, and payment toward child support and the cost of the program.
Office of County Services– As required by state statutes, the Office of County Services conducts annual inspections of the 22 county correctional facilities and 376 municipal detention facilities located throughout the state. The office also reviews and approves documents for the construction, renovation or alteration of those facilities to ensure compliance with New Jersey Administrative Code (NJAC) requirements.
The Office of County Services is also responsible for:
Office of Chaplaincy Services– Chaplaincy Services are provided to the inmate population and offered to staff on request. Each NJDOC facility has chaplaincy representation. Normally, a facility is serviced by a chaplain representing a major faith group and supplemented by the use of volunteers.
The NJDOC believes that prisoner reentry should be addressed on a continuum, and that participation in one program will not in itself reduce recidivism rates. Delivering services to individuals pre-incarceration, during incarceration and post-incarceration is a proven method of reducing recidivism. The NJDOC provides a mentoring service that allows the faith-based community to have a positive impact on inmates while they are incarcerated and continues that relationship post-release. The faith-based mentor program is offered to inmates within eight to 12 of their max or parole date. Families of the incarcerated are included in the program, and faith-based mentoring groups are encouraged to reach out to families prior to the release of inmates. The Chaplaincy Network Program has trained more than 250 volunteers as mentors, successfully matched more than 150 inmates with appropriate mentors and experienced an average success rate of 90 percent for the first three months of matches made.
The goal of the mentoring program is to provide a continuum of mentoring services via trained mentors in a professional, caring and effective manner. Another goal of the program is to provide inmates with screened, trained mentors who have agreed to remain faithfully involved with them, in one-on-one relationships, for at least twoyears. The mentors will assist them with gaining access to faith-based communities that will provide inmates with positive relationships that can help them learn serve and work in their communities.
Volunteer Services – The major goal of Volunteer Services is to ensure proper recruitment, processing, training, evaluation and recognition of NJDOC volunteers. As such, professionals, student, and members of the community who desire to volunteer in the areas of chaplaincy, educational, social, medical and psychological, and recreational services are subject to an
Office of Victim Services – The mission of the Office of Victim Services is to serve as a liaison to crime victims, victim service providers and allied professionals on matters related to services and support for victims of crime, relative to the offenders in the NJDOC.
Responsibilities of Office of Victim Services include:
Critical Incident Stress Management – The Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) team was formed to provide assistance and support to NJDOC employees and their families during critical incidents. The program seeks to stabilize negative impact as a result of a tragic event.
Issues related to the CISM team’s response include situations involving suicides, homicides, fatal auto accidents, domestic situations and injuries at work.
The Office of Educational Services develops educational programs for incarcerated persons that potentially can improve their life prospects and restore hope. The goal of the Office of Educational Services is to provide all students with the opportunity to receive a high school diploma or GED, vocational training, and the life skills necessary to successful reentry into society.
This mission is achieved within the framework congruent with the Departments’ overall mission and in concert with all appropriate statutes, codes, and regulations as governed by New Jersey School and Administrative Law. (New Jersey Statues Annotated, NJSA and New Jersey Administrative Code, NJAC).
Each of the twelve (12) correctional facilities offers educational programming, which reflect the demonstrated needs of the inmate learners. There are site specific variations relative to Career and Technical Education (CTE) and special programs however, all facilities offer basic skills, pre-secondary, secondary, post-secondary and English as a Second Language (ESL) academic programs, and a full complement of appropriate support services. Each academic program is designed to service students and their grade performance expectancies. The CTE programs are designed to provide participants with the skills, competencies and attitudes necessary for a successful entry into employment upon release. The programs also serve a collateral function as they provide students with meaningful use of time while they are incarcerated.
Comprehensive Academic Programming
Career Technical Education
State Facility Education Act (SFEA)
Child Study Team
NJSTEP College Program
Workforce Learning Link
The Office of Educational Services develops and schedules the community outreach program known as Project P.R.I.D.E. (Promoting Responsibility in Drug Education):
Project PRIDE is a major public safety initiative from the Office of Educational Services of the NJDOC. During this program, OES screens and auditions offenders from minimum custody to make presentations to different venues ranging from juvenile courts, to schools, to community-based organizations, and faith-based organizations. Project PRIDE is delivered in two types of formats to address specific audiences; schools and school aged students (6th through 12th grade) and parents, guardians, teachers and school administrators, the community at-large.
The goal of Project PRIDE is to educate our audiences on the harsh realities of making destructive decisions. Topics of conversation will range from the dangers of using drugs and alcohol, drinking and driving, negative peer relationships, disrespecting authority, bullying, gangs, etc. For parents and school officials, a special emphasis will be placed on the early warning signs of destructive behavior and what resources may have helped the inmates make better decisions while in school.
The inmate speakers that participate in Project PRIDE have volunteered to share their experiences as their way to “give back” to our communities. The offenders are at all times under the direct supervision of Senior Correction Officers while they are in the community. A moderator, from the OES, leads the candid discussion and facilitates a Q & A session as well.In a typical year, Project PRIDE will reach over 50,000 students and parents. To date, over 800,000 NJ residents have participated in the program.
In an effort to reduce the risk of recidivism and increase the likelihood of an inmate’s successful reentry into society, the NJDOC created the Office of Transitional Services in 2004. The goal of the Office of Transitional Services is to implement a seamless continuum of care for offenders utilizing cost-efficient, well-proven evidenced based/informed practices system-wide to increase offenders’ abilities and to lead a crime-free lifestyle.
Through programming, offenders are provided with the tools necessary to become productive members of the community. The Office of Transitional Services also has developed partnerships with federal, state and local agencies to create linkages to resources that provide support to offenders. Intense transition support and the pre-release phase of an offenders’ incarceration are critical to ensure his or her successful reentry into the community.
TheOffice of Transitional Services’ core therapeutic programs include:
Thinking for a Change (T4C) –T4C is a cognitive behavioral program, endorsed by the National Institute of Corrections as a best practice approach for reducing recidivism. The goal of the program is to effect change in offender thinking so offenders can change their behavior. It assists offenders in breaking the cycle of incarceration by teaching them how to think before they react, how to build positive relationships and how to think about things in a positive way.
Successful Transition and Reentry Series (STARS) –STARS is a release preparatory program designed to address each major reentry barrier faced by the returning offender. Topics include employment, housing, transportation, education, family reunification and finances. The STARS curriculum also includes an inmate workbook titled “Living on the Outside.” STARS assists offenders in breaking the cycle of incarceration, addresses possible barriers associated with the reentry process, teaches offenders how to build positive family relationships, prepares offenders to join the workforce, and helps to develop effective problem-solving, communications and life skills. It also provides offenders with vital resource information for services in the community.
Cage Your Rage (CYR) – The Cage Your Rage anger management program was introduced first and shortly there after Cage Your Rage for Women was introduced. Cage Your Rage is endorsed by the American Corrections Association as a best practice program designed to help offenders recognize their angry feelings, learn their cause, and deal with them in a responsible way. Participants learn the connection between thoughts and anger and, more importantly, techniques to help them manage their anger.
Successful Employment through Lawful Living and Conflict Management (SEALL) –SEALL is a continuation of the STARS program with a specific focus on maintaining employment and addressing on-the-job conflict. The program prepares offenders to address possible barriers to employment, how to build positive working relationships and how to develop effective problem solving and communication skills.
Helping Offenders Parent Effectively (HOPE) – HOPE for men was introduced to the offender population and shortly there after HOPE for Women was introduced. It is the goal of the programs to help participants become responsible parents, even while incarcerated, which will lead to a reduction in the rate of recidivism and ultimately result in offenders learning to positively influence their own children to live law-abiding lives. HOPE is designed to enable offenders to recognize the importance of accepting responsibility for their children and increasing their ability to be self sufficient by beginning to take control of their lives life.
Every Person Influences Children (EPIC) –EPIC is a gender-specific program designed especially for women. The goal of the program is to empower female offenders to raise their children to become responsible adults by teaching parenting skills that will enable participants to become better mothers upon their release.Family Reunification and Transition (FRAT)-FRAT empowers the offenders with skills to help them develop a plan for rebuilding family relationships that may have been damage as a result of their incarceration and aids in helping them to understand the expectations set by their family member for when they return home.