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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.

Office of Community Programs and Outreach Services

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:

  • Assessment and Treatment Centers – The centersprovide eligible inmates with a comprehensive assessment of their needs and risks, an orientation to a treatment regimen and a referral to Work Release, Correctional Treatment, or Mutual Agreement Programs.
  • Special Needs Programs – The NJDOC currently contracts for one  Special Needs Program with a focus on the provision of specialized services for inmates with mental health issues, MICA (Mentally Ill/Chemically Addicted) issues and specialized health service needs. This program collaborates with a third party to provide on-site mental health services. Once treatment needs are met, participants may be eligible to take part in the work release component. Although all of the RCRPs work closely with the residents to assist them with discharge planning, discharge planning and the provision of concrete linkages to community services is an essential element of this program.
  • Correctional Treatment Programs – The focus of the Correctional Treatment Programs is the provision of services that will provide the tools for inmates with criminogenic needs to reenter society as productive and sober members. These programs utilize the assessments provided by the Assessment and Treatment Centers, as well as the assessments performed during an inmates’ incarceration, to create a seamless continuum for inmates with substance use issues. Ongoing assessments are performed throughout the inmates’ stay to determine progress in treatment; when an inmate has completed the treatment portion of his or her RCRP stay, that inmate is generally eligible to seek employment.
  • Work Release Programs – The focus of work release programs is to provide residents with a solid foundation for successful reentry into the workforce with the goal of not just obtaining viable employment, but retaining employment.

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.

The Office of Community Programs and Outreach Services also include the following entities:

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:

  • Reviewing the operation of all county work release programs.
  • Providing training in “Cell Block Management and Suicide Awareness” to county police officer recruits and line staff, and county correctional facility staff, as requested.
  • Reviewing and responding to inquiries from state inmates confined in county correctional facilities.
  • Providing technical assistance to county correctional wardens/administrators and police chiefs concerning the revision, development or implementation of any policy, procedure or written protocol required by the NJAC.

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.

Chaplaincy Network Program– The Chaplaincy Network Program has developed a program designed to assign inmates with trained faith-based mentors. The mentors serve as guides and role models while providing direction and/or assistance to the inmate along with his or her family to facilitate a successful return to society.

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
extensive application process, which includes appropriate screening, a criminal history background check, and volunteer orientation and training. Click here for further information regarding volunteer opportunities with NJDOC.

Volunteer Services provides recommendations for accurate procedures and manuals with regard to the Volunteer Services Program. The unit provides documentation, tracking, and reports regarding the Volunteer Services Program and also works closely with institutional volunteer coordinators and the Special Investigations Division to ensure proper processing of volunteers.

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:

  • Offering guidance to department administration and staff in matters related to victim/witness assistance, including programs, policy development and implementation; and providing recommendations to the NJDOC on the implementation of core victims’ rights, including notification, restitution, protection from intimidation, harassment or harm, victim input, information and referral services.
  • Providing general information on status and location of inmates, serving as a referral agent to assist in obtaining community resources, and acting as a liaison between victims, families of victims, the NJDOC and the offender. Inquiries often include assistance with court-ordered restitution, community release impact statements, sentencing information, and notification methods and requirements.
  • Providing services that increase chances for offenders to succeed in the community, such as the “Focus on the Victim Program.”
  • Collaborating with NJDOC grants management for updated information regarding pending and completed goals/objectives, specific to Prison Rape Elimination Grant for semi-annual reporting purposes.
  • Enhancing awareness and support for employees and their service to the public; educating staff on good coping mechanisms and sensitivity to the victimized; and helping staff better understand victims’ needs, to improve their skills for dealing with victims’ stress and trauma.
  • Actively participating in state, county and other local victim-related meetings; and networking with national, state and local offices to ensure that victims are afforded rights and services under federal, state and local laws.

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.

The CISM team, which functions under the supervision of the Office of Community Programs and Outreach Services and consists of a standing committee, seeks to stabilize the negative impact on an individual or individuals as result of a tragic event. The outcomes associated with this initiative include an improvement in staff morale, job retention, safety and a reduction in costs associated with injuries and time-loss. Crisis intervention services include pre- and post-incident crisis education, family support services, on-scene support services and demobilizations for large-scale incidents, small group defusing and group interventions.

Issues related to the CISM team’s response include situations involving suicides, homicides, fatal auto accidents, domestic situations and injuries at work.

Office of Educational Services

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. 

Program Overview

Comprehensive Academic Programming
Each of the thirteen (13) correctional facilities offers educational programming, which reflect the demonstrated needs of the inmate learners.  All offer basic skills, pre-secondary, secondary, post-secondary and English as a Second Language (ESL) academic programs, with a full complement of appropriate support services.  Each academic program (GED or HSD) is designed to service students at their grade performance expectancies.  All students entering education programs are administered the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). Students are appropriately placed by test results. 

Career Technical Education
The career technical education programs are designed to provide participants with the skills, competencies and attitudes necessary for a successful entry into employment upon release. 

State Facility Education Act (SFEA)
This provision requires school age inmates to participate in academic and vocational education. (21 years old and under)

Child Study Team
An assembly of certified education professionals, to include a school psychologist, learning disabilities teacher-consultant (LDTC), special education and regular education teachers. 

NJSTEP College Program
NJ STEP is a major inter-governmental initiative in which the NJ DOC has partnered with Rutgers University-Newark to provide post-secondary education to currently incarcerated men and women in New Jersey correctional facilities. The NJ STEP program operates using private funds only. Sponsors include the Ford, Gates, Kaiser, Soros, and Sunshine Lady Foundations. For more information, please visit the NJ STEP website: http://njstep.newark.rutgers.edu/about/

Workforce Learning Link
Computer learning lab dedicated to the transition skills needed to enter the workforce.  Workforce Learning Links mirror the computer labs at each County One-Stop Career Center. 

Vocational Assessment 
Career/education interest and aptitude instrument that measures and identifies career preferences that correspond to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Interest Areas.

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.

Office of Transitional Services

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.
 
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