Department of correctionsombudsperson and Veterans Affairs

Office of the Corrections Ombudsperson

Complaint Review Process

Inquiries

Upon receipt of an inquiry from a friend, family member, or concerned party, OCO staff will determine if the information requested is considered to be confidential and can be provided to the inmate or general public.  If the information is not considered to be confidential it will be provided to the requestor and in some cases may only be provided directly to the inmate.   If the information is not available to OCO staff, the requestor will be advised accordingly and may be informed as to how the requested information may be obtained.

Inquiries from the inmate population will be addressed accordingly and the information may be provided immediately, in a written response to the requestor, or during an in person interview if the inquiry pertains to information relative to a sensitive matter.

Complaints

Upon receipt of a complaint, OCO staff will determine if the complaint falls under the purview of the office.   This office addresses complaints or concerns regarding the living conditions and treatment of state sentenced inmates housed in State Prison Facilities or Residential Community Release Programs.  This office does not handle matters pertaining to inmates housed in County Jails.  Any concerns regarding county jail inmates should be directed to the County Jail Warden or Director.   OCO’s jurisdiction pertains only to the actions of the New Jersey Department of Corrections and does not extend to the actions of federal agencies or any courts of law.  Additionally, OCO staff can not provide legal assistance or representation.

Our goal is to provide a response to the incarcerated individual/complainant as soon as possible which may include providing information regarding applicable policies and procedures, or referrals to appropriate Department of Corrections or University Correctional Health Care Staff.

All contacts to the OCO are important to us and will be handled accordingly.   However, due to limited resources, staff must prioritize matters in the order of urgency and address them in a timely manner.

  • Healthcare and Mental Health concerns regarding the lack of treatment, necessary medical care and medication:
  • Safety and Security concerns to include fear of physical harm, sexual assault, and sexual harassment:
  • Mistreatment of vulnerable population to include LGBTI inmates
  • Systemic issues that affect the greatest number of inmates
  • The most common inquiries pertain to inmate records, sentencing information, property, living conditions, custody status eligibility and reviews, parole eligibility and hearings, inmate trust accounts, JPAY kiosks / players, telephones, and mail/package processing.

Investigations

An investigation may include speaking to staff, review of institutional records, in person interview, and visual inspection of living conditions.

Inmates, family members, or other interested parties may remain anonymous at their request when reporting any concerns to the OCO.  Inmates should not be subject to any form of retaliation for contacting the OCO for assistance or reporting any concerns or unjust action.

The OCO works closely with the Department of Corrections and University Correctional Health Care Staff to ensure that all inmates receive the community standard of health care during their incarceration.  OCO Staff can not provide medical information to inmates, families, or other interested parties.  All medical, mental health, and dental concerns will be referred to University Correctional Health Care and Department of Corrections Staff for review and appropriate action.  Medical treatment concerns may be addressed with University Correctional Health Care Patient Advocates located at each facility.   


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