Sunday, December 30, 2012

New York Times Report: Trouble in New Jersey Halfway-House System

New Jersey law mandates that only nonprofit groups can obtain contracts to run the Correction Department's halfway houses. Private companies are barred from the system. Experts praise the halfway-house model as a potentially important tool to help inmates make the return to society. The system in New Jersey once included many mom-and-pop outfits that ran neighborhood-based facilities. In recent years, however, the state has winnowed the number of operators, and two nonprofit groups -- The Kintock Group and Education and Health Centers of America -- now receive about 85 percent of the halfway-house budget.

However, the system in New Jersey is troubled. Earlier this year, The New York Times ran a series of articles in which it described escapes, violence, gang activity, drug use and other problems at New Jersey halfway houses.  Today's Times is alleging that all is not well with the system.  According to The Times, federal disclosure records reveal that Kintockpaid its founder, David D. Fawkner, about $7 million in salary and benefits over the past decade.  The agency also paid Mr. Fawkner's daughter, brother-in-law and son-in-law more than $2.5 million during that period.  The Times also alleges that:  

The nonprofit agency hired the brother-in-law as a consultant even though he has no corrections experience and lives in California. And it employed the son-in-law to run a subsidiary unrelated to its mission: duplicating DVDs and other electronic media.

Meanwhile, the other nonprofit operator, Education and Health Centers of America, is reportedly a nonprofit arm of a for-profit entity, Community Education Centers, to which it funnels money.

The nonprofits are denying any wrong doing.  The report is well-worth reading.  After you have read it, come to your own conclusion on the state of the halfway-house system in the Garden State.


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