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State of New Jersey
Executive Order #118

Governor Christine Todd Whitman

WHEREAS, the Legislature has declared, through the Sexually Violent Predator Act, N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.24 et seq. ("the Act"), that certain sex offenders pose a particular danger to the public due to the risk that they will recidivate; and

WHEREAS, the Act, which became effective August 12, 1999, authorizes the State to preserve the public safety by civilly committing offenders who are determined to be "sexually violent predators"; and

WHEREAS, in order to serve certain correctional and public safety interests, as well as to address certain individual rights issues, the Act includes the following specific requirements regarding the State's custody of sexually violent predators: that sexually violent predators be placed in a secure facility operated by the New Jersey Department of Corrections; that such civilly committed persons be housed separately from State inmates incarcerated by the Department of Corrections; and that the Department of Human Services provide appropriate services and treatment at the facility; and

WHEREAS, any facility for housing sexually violent predators must provide protection to the community at large and the facility staff; and

WHEREAS, at the time of the passage of the Act, no existing State facility could meet the special requirements of the Act without modification; and

WHEREAS, it was determined that a facility in Kearny ("Kearny facility") leased by the State from Hudson County could, with modification, meet the requirements of the Act on a temporary basis; and

WHEREAS, the State of New Jersey made modifications to the Kearny facility, so that the civilly committed sexually violent predators could be safely and securely housed there on a temporary basis; and

WHEREAS, sexually violent predators have been safely and securely housed at the Kearny facility since August 12, 1999; and

WHEREAS, the County of Hudson obtained a judgment of possession from the Superior Court of New Jersey regarding the Kearny facility, which judgment was affirmed on appeal; and

WHEREAS, the Superior Court of New Jersey entered an order authorizing the execution of a warrant of removal from the Kearny facility, effective September 29, 2000; and

WHEREAS, various agencies of the State of New Jersey have worked diligently to site a permanent facility that would meet the requirements of the Act and preserve the public safety; and

WHEREAS, on September 23, 1998, prior to the effective date of the Act but after its passage, the New Jersey Building Authority adopted a resolution approving the Project Report prepared by the Building Authority concerning the State's plans to build a permanent facility to house sexually violent predators; and

WHEREAS, thereafter, the State determined to have the Building Authority site and construct that permanent facility on the grounds of East Jersey State Prison in the Township of Woodbridge ("Woodbridge"); and

WHEREAS, on December 20, 1999, as a result of litigation instituted by Woodbridge against the State, the Superior Court of New Jersey enjoined the State from proceeding with this Building Authority project pending resolution of certain issues; and

WHEREAS, this injunction remains in effect and the litigation remains unresolved; and

WHEREAS, Maurice River Township, Cumberland County, which had on August 17, 2000 passed a resolution supporting the siting and construction of a permanent facility to house sexually violent predators on the grounds of Bayside State Prison, reversed its decision and, on September 11, 2000, passed a resolution opposing the siting and construction of the permanent facility to house sexually violent predators in its community; and

WHEREAS, as a result of Maurice River Township's September 11, 2000 resolution, the State has been further delayed from advancing its plans to construct a permanent facility to house sexually violent predators; and

WHEREAS, there are approximately 120 sexually violent predators currently housed in the Kearny facility; and

WHEREAS, it is anticipated that the number of civilly committed sexually violent predators will continue to increase; and

WHEREAS, legislative and judicial mandates and the need to preserve public safety require the continued civil commitment of individuals found to be sexually violent predators; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Corrections anticipates that a facility at East Jersey State Prison ("Rahway facility") can be modified by the end of the year within approximately three months, to temporarily house some, but not all, of the individuals committed pursuant to the Act; and

WHEREAS, about eight months ago, in the Woodbridge litigation regarding the siting and construction of a permanent facility, the Superior Court appointed a special master to make recommendations regarding whether Woodbridge was entitled to production of certain documents and to provide the trial court with a recommendation concerning Woodbridge's request; and

WHEREAS, now that the special master has completed the review and provided his recommendations regarding the production of documents pertaining to the permanent facility to the Superior Court, Woodbridge has, on September 12, 2000, filed another lawsuit against various State agencies, seeking to enjoin the State from retrofitting any building at the East Jersey State Prison for the temporary housing of sexually violent predators; and

WHEREAS, on September 20, 2000, the Superior Court denied Woodbridge's application for an injunction but transferred its challenge to the temporary facility to the Appellate Division and hence, this litigation may continue; and

WHEREAS, the Kearny facility is still the only site currently available for temporarily housing sexually violent predators that meets the requirements of the Act and the needs of public safety; and

WHEREAS, it will be necessary to continue to use the Kearny Facility for the housing of those sexually violent predators that cannot be temporarily accommodated or appropriately placed at the Rahway facility, after modifications to that facility are complete, until such time as there exists additional temporary facilities capable of and appropriate for the housing of this population after modifications to that facility are complete, or until a permanent facility is constructed and operational; and

WHEREAS, it is in the best interests of the State of New Jersey, the public and those committed under the Act that sexually violent predators continue to be temporarily housed in the Kearny facility, until such time as there exists additional temporary facilities capable of and appropriate for the housing of all individuals committed pursuant to the Act or until a permanent facility is constructed and operational; and

WHEREAS, the Disaster Control Act authorizes the Governor to issue an Executive Order allowing the State to utilize County facilities to respond to an emergency; and

WHEREAS, removal of the sexually violent predators from the Kearny facility will create a statewide emergency within the meaning of the Disaster Control Act;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRISTINE TODD WHITMAN, Governor of the State of New Jersey, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and DIRECT as follows:

1. Pursuant to the Disaster Control Act, the Kearny facility is hereby designated as a facility appropriate for the temporary housing of sexually violent predators by the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

2. The Kearny facility will be used to house sexually violent predators until there exists either other temporary facilities capable of and appropriate for the housing of all individuals committed pursuant to the Act or until a permanent facility capable of accommodating this population is constructed and operational.

3. Hudson County shall be compensated for use of the Kearny facility consistent with the terms of the 1998 payment provisions of the lease; and

4. This Order shall take effect immediately.

GIVEN, under my hand and seal,
this 22nd day of September in the
Year of Our Lord, Two Thousand
and of the Independence of the
United States, the Two Hundred
and Twenty-Fifth

/s/ Christine Todd Whitman
Governor

[seal]

Attest:

/s/ Robert E. Fabricant
Chief Counsel to the Governor

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