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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How many institutions does the New Jersey Department of Corrections operate?
A: The NJDOC is responsible for 13 major institutions -- seven adult male correctional facilities, three youth facilities, one facility for sex offenders, one women's correctional institution and a central reception/intake unit. These facilities collectively house approximately 22,000 inmates in minimum, medium and maximum security levels.

Q: How many people are committed to the Department of Corrections in one year?
A: Approximately 10,839 inmates were committed to NJDOC institutions during the 2011 calendar year. It is anticipated that roughly 900 inmates per month will be committed in 2012.

Q: How many people are released from the Department of Corrections in one year?
A: Approximately 11,840 inmates were released from NJDOC institutions during the 2011 calendar year. An estimated 987 inmates per month are expected to be released in 2012.

Q: What is the average length of sentence?
A: The median term for NJDOC inmates is six years. Forty-six percent of all NJDOC inmates are serving terms of one-to-five years; 17 percent are serving terms of six-to-nine years; and 35 percent are serving maximum sentences of 10 years or more.

Q: Do Department of Corrections inmates receive quality healthcare?
A: The Health Services Unit establishes Department of Corrections policy regarding medical, dental, nursing, pharmacy and mental health care of inmates held in state custody. The unit monitors professional activities to insure compliance with applicable rules, regulations and statutes related to inmate healthcare services, with a goal of assuring that community standards are maintained. The unit's Quality Assurance Section develops formal auditing instruments that allow for the performance of objective audits of all areas of inmate healthcare services, which were privatized in 1996.

Q: What is a mandatory minimum sentence, and how many Department of Corrections inmates are serving mandatory minimum terms?
A: In New Jersey, since 1979, the courts have utilized mandatory minimum sentences. This means that an offender must serve the entire mandatory portion of his or her sentence before becoming eligible for parole consideration. Mandatory minimum sentences cannot be reduced by earned credits (commutation, minimum security, or work).
As of January 2012, 72 percent of all adult offenders have mandatory minimum terms. The median mandatory minimum sentence is five years. Twenty-two percent of those with mandatory minimum terms have mandatory minimum sentences of 15 years or more.

Q: How many Department of Corrections inmates have been convicted of a violent crime? How many have been convicted of a drug-related offense?
A: As of January 2012, 54 percent of all NJDOC offenders were convicted of a violent offense, such as homicide, sexual assault, aggravated or simple assault, robbery, kidnapping and other person offenses (terroristic threats, coercion, larceny from a person, death by auto and negligent manslaughter).
Twenty-two percent of the inmate population was convicted of a drug-related offense. Virtually all drug offenses were for sale and distribution, rather than for possession.

Q: How many "lifers" are incarcerated in New Jersey Department of Corrections facilities?
A: As of January 2012, 1,157 offenders are serving life sentences; of these, 61 are serving life without parole.

Q: What is the racial/ethnic breakdown of the Department of Corrections' inmate population?
A: As of January 2012, approximately 61 percent of all state correctional institutional offenders were African American, 22 percent were Caucasians, 16 percent were Hispanic and one percent represented other racial/ethnic backgrounds. (In these tabulations, a Hispanic is an individual of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of skin color.)

Q: What are the procedures for visiting an inmate at a Department of Corrections facility?
A: Each facility has its own regulations. Specific questions regarding visitation procedures should be addressed to the facility where the inmate is housed.

Q: What does the Department of Corrections do on behalf of crime victims?
A: The Office of Victim Services is devoted to protecting the rights of victims of crime and assisting victims in achieving meaningful services. The office was established to strengthen the role of the NJDOC in responding to the needs of victims. In conjunction with other state and local agencies, the office fosters cooperation and teamwork to ensure that victims are afforded fair and sensitive treatment. The Office of Victim Services can be contacted at 1-800-996-2029 or 609-943-5390.

Q: Where can I get information about a career with the New Jersey Department of Corrections?
A: The NJDOC is the second-largest employer in state government. Nearly 10,000 employees are currently building rewarding careers with the department. To successfully carry out its mission, the NJDOC offers a wide variety of career opportunities in both administrative and operational areas. Additional information can be found in the “Careers in Corrections” section of this Web site.

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