According to an article published in the Trentonian on October 1, 2009, plans are in the works to put New Jersey’s most troublesome juvenile inmates in the custody of the adult prison system. This move, in turn, could potentially take the Juvenile Justice Commission (“JJC”) out of the incarceration business. In connection with this move, sources indicated that some JJC guards and teachers have been transferred back to adult prisons.
The article stated the JJC has stressed rehabilitation over punishment since it was formed in 1995 to take criminal children from the custody of the juvenile wing of New Jersey’s Department of Corrections. Recently, however, many guards in the JJC have complained about being attacked and injured by the increasing number of young gang members.
Under the plan being talked about in the Governor’s office, the JJC will continue to be part of state government, supervising group homes, halfway houses and other programs for keeping convicted juveniles out of prison. According to various sources, up to 80 percent of New Jersey’s juvenile offenders are doing well in the JJC system of not locking up most convicted teenage offenders. The sources also stated the New Jersey Department of Corrections’ Commissioner George Hayman has checked out the Johnstone State Mental Complex Facility in Bordentown to see if it can handle some of the overflow of inmates stemming from the JJC policy change as well as the closure of Riverfront State Prison in Camden.