New Jersey Department of Corrections

Following a two week trial presided by the Honorable Anne E. Thompson, USDJ, in the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, a jury of ten men and women unanimously returned a verdict of “No Cause of Liability” against three State Corrections Officers, a State Corrections Sergeant and a State Corrections Lieutenant. 

A previous entry to this blog focused upon the presence of illicit cell phones in prisons. In the entry, it was explained how illicit cell phones remain a major problem inside New Jersey’s prisons, as inmates use the devices to secretly communicate with each other, intimidate witnesses and direct drug deals and other illegal

On July 23, 2009, the Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division issued its opinion in the case of James Liik, et al v. New Jersey Department of Personnel/New Jersey Department of Corrections, Docket Number A-4121-06T2.

This particular opinion has widespread implications in regard to pay and seniority of thousands of New Jersey corrections officers presently employed with the New Jersey Department of Corrections.

By way of background, in 1997, the New Jersey Department of Corrections and New Jersey Department of Personnel created and implemented a pilot program which modified training procedures for corrections officer recruits. Prior to the implementation of the pilot program, candidates for employment with the Department of Corrections were hired as employees and assigned the rank of “correction officer recruit” during their period of training and completion of their working test period. During this time, corrections officer recruits received full salary and benefits available for this particular rank. Once the working test period associated with the position of corrections officer trainee was successfully completed, they were then promoted to the position of senior corrections officer. The pilot program eliminated this practice and those individuals seeking employment with the New Jersey Department of Corrections were designated as “students/trainees.”

As a result of this change, they were no longer considered employees of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, but instead received the lesser rank of corrections officer recruit/trainee during the 14-week training period. During this 14-week training period, instead of receiving the regular salary of a corrections officer recruit, they received a $300 weekly stipend. If a recruit trainee successfully completed the prescribed program of training, they then became “employees” of the New Jersey Department of Corrections and received the salary and benefits of a corrections officer recruit. Despite the fact that the program was to last for only a period of one year, the New Jersey Department of Corrections and Department of Personnel made the program permanent in 1999. A stipend of $300.00 that was to be paid to student trainees never increased over the following years and a significant financial burden and hardship was placed upon those individuals seeking employment with the New Jersey Department of Corrections.


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Gannet News Services ran an article in today’s Asbury Park Press that discussed how the New Jersey Department of Corrections saved 2.6 million dollars in overtime spending by slightly "tinkering" with the Department’s overtime policies.  As all corrections officers and supervisory personnel are aware, the minor tinkering that is discussed in the article is what

In the matter of Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington, Civil Action No. 05-3619, the United States District Court, District of New Jersey, addressed the issue of strip searches of non-indictable offenders.

Plaintiffs consisted of a certified class to include all arrestees charged with non-indictable offenses, which were

This blog entry will focus upon our review of certain statutory proposals currently pending in the New Jersey Legislature concerning the pay status of law enforcement officers when appeals of termination are not resolved within 180 days. These proposals are set forth in Assembly Bill Number 3481

Assembly Bill 3481 concerns the suspensions of certain law enforcement officers and firefighters and supplements Title 40A of the New Jersey statutes and specifically amends N.J.S.A. 40A:14-150 and N.J.S.A. 40A:14-22. In essence, the bill allows certain law enforcement officers and firefighters to regain pay status when appeals of termination are not resolved within 180 days.

The first part of the bill provides:

When a law enforcement officer employed by a law enforcement agency…that is subject to the provisions of Title 11A of the New Jersey Statutes is suspended from performing his official duties without pay for a complaint or charges, other than (1) a complaint or charges relating to the subject matter of a pending criminal investigation…whether pre-indictment or post indictment, or (2) when the complaint or charges allege conduct that also would constitute a violation of the criminal laws of this State or any other jurisdiction, and the law enforcement agency employing the officer…seeks to terminate that officer’s…employment for the conduct that was the basis for the officer’s…suspension without pay, a final determination on the officer’s…suspension and termination shall be rendered within 180 calendar days from the date the officer…is suspended without pay.


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