SENATE, No. 861

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

215th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2012 SESSION

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  SANDRA B. CUNNINGHAM

District 31 (Hudson)

Senator  LORETTA WEINBERG

District 37 (Bergen)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Modifies laws concerning inmate income and complaints; requires certain correctional officer training; creates uniform identification cards for attorneys to enter State correctional facilities.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel

  


An Act concerning the administration of correctional facilities and supplementing Titles 30 and 52 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, the administrator of a State or county correctional facility, where an inmate is incarcerated, shall deduct a monthly amount of not less than $75 from any income that the inmate receives as a result of labor performed at the correctional facility for deposit in an inmate account maintained by the State or county correctional facility.  Moneys deposited in that account shall be accessible by the inmate as credit for purchases at the prison commissary, or may accrue on a monthly basis as savings for the inmate which shall be accessed as credit for purchases at any time, or paid to the inmate upon release.  If an inmate earns less than $75 on a monthly basis, that full amount shall be deposited in the inmate account for the same purpose.

     b.    Any amount in excess of $75 shall be used to satisfy any fine or assessment imposed pursuant to section 2 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:43-3.1), or in satisfaction of restitution or fines imposed in accordance with the provisions of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes or with the provisions of section 24 of P.L.1982, c.77 (C.2A:4A-43), or any other  assessment, restitution, penalty, or fee imposed in accordance with the New Jersey Statutes. 

     c.     After an inmate has satisfied each assessment, restitution, penalty, or fee imposed in accordance with the New Jersey Statutes, the administrator shall deposit that inmate’s full income from labor performed at the correctional facility in the inmate’s account for use by that inmate in accordance with subsection a. of this section. 

 

     2.    The Commissioner of Corrections shall compile and submit all records of inmate complaints submitted to the department on a semiannual basis to the Public Advocate whose office is established pursuant to the "Public Advocate Restoration Act of 2005," P.L.2005, c.155 (C.52:27EE-1 et seq.) 

 

     3.    a.  The Commissioner of Corrections, in consultation with the Police Training Commission, shall develop and implement an in-service training program for adult corrections officers appointed by the State who have satisfactorily completed the basic training course approved by the commission.  The program curriculum shall be developed by the commissioner based upon a needs assessment and in compliance with standards of the American Correctional Association.  The program shall be designed to accommodate the experience level of individual corrections officers. 


     b.    The in-service training program required by subsection a. of this section shall include a component on mental health sensitivity and cultural awareness. 

     c.     A person appointed by the State as an adult corrections officer who has satisfactorily completed an in-service basic training course pursuant to section 5 of P.L.1988, c.176 (C.52:17B-68.1) shall satisfactorily complete the in-service training program developed by the commissioner pursuant to subsection a. of this section. 

     d.    Pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.), the commissioner may promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the provisions of this act.

 

     4.    The commissioner shall issue a uniform identification card for attorneys to gain admittance to any correctional facility under the jurisdiction of the commissioner.  The cost of the identification card shall be borne by the attorney to whom the card is issued.  The commissioner may issue guidelines concerning the design, issuance, cost and use of the identification card.  The commissioner shall produce an identification card that can be used at correctional facilities under the supervision of the department.  Nothing in this act shall permit a correctional facility to preclude an attorney from failing to obtain or display the uniform identification card.  Nothing in this act shall preclude a correctional facility from accepting alternative forms of attorney identification including, but not limited to, identification issued pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2009, c.11 (C.40A:4-22.2) and identification cards issued by any state or county bar association.

 

     5.    This act shall take effect on the first day of the seventh month following enactment, except that the commissioner may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance thereof as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would modify laws concerning inmate income and complaints, require in-service training for corrections officers, and create a uniform identification card for attorneys entering State correctional facilities.  These changes would: provide inmates with access to more of their money earned while incarcerated; ensure that corrections officers receive appropriate training; provide for regular reporting of inmate complaints; and create a uniform identification card for attorneys visiting State correctional facilities to expedite attorneys’ access to their incarcerated clients.

     Specifically, this bill would allow people who are incarcerated in a State or county correctional facility to maintain $25 of their monthly income earned for labor performed at the facility.  Under the current administrative code, inmates may only maintain $15 of their monthly income.  The amount in excess of the $75 limit is allocated to pay for any assessment, restitution, penalty, or fee imposed as a result of the inmate’s crime, until those obligations are paid in full.

     Second, this bill would require the Commissioner of Corrections to semiannually submit all inmate complaints to the Department of the Public Advocate. 

     Third, this bill would require the Commissioner of Corrections, in consultation with the Police Training Commission, to develop and implement an in-service training program for adult corrections officers appointed by the State who have satisfactorily completed the basic training course approved by the commission.  The program curriculum would be developed by the commissioner based upon a needs assessment and in compliance with the standards of the American Correctional Association.  The commissioner is to design the program to accommodate the experience level of individual corrections officers.  The in-service training program must include a component on mental health sensitivity and cultural awareness training.  Officers would be required to satisfactorily complete the in-service training program. 

     Finally, this bill would require the Commissioner of Corrections to issue a uniform identification card for attorneys who visit State correctional facilities.  This would ensure that all attorneys have access to all correctional facilities regardless of where the attorney practices.  The cost of the identification card would be borne by the attorney to whom the card is issued.  The bill authorizes the commissioner to issue guidelines concerning the design, issuance, cost, and use of the identification card and requires that they cooperate to produce an identification card that can be used at correctional facilities supervised by both the department and the commission.  This bill does not preclude correctional facilities from accepting alternative forms of attorney identification.  The bill also prohibits a facility from denying access to an attorney who does not have the uniform identification card.