ASSEMBLY, No. 2515
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED DECEMBER 5, 1996
By Assemblywoman WRIGHT and Assemblyman KRAMER
An Act concerning juvenile justice facilities and supplementing Title 30 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. The Legislature finds:
There has been a significant increase in juvenile crime, especially violent crime. The violent crime rate for juveniles in this State has increased by almost 50 percent since 1988. Reflective of this dramatic increase, the juvenile arrest rate for violent crime in New Jersey grew by more than two-thirds between 1980 and 1994. The numbing reality of this disquieting statistical trend is found in the recognition that New Jersey today is ranked fourth among all the states-- behind only New York, Florida and California--in the rate of juvenile arrests for the violent crimes of murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Since the courts often are compelled to impose custodial terms for juveniles adjudicated delinquent for violent crimes, the dramatic rise in the number of juveniles arrested for murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault has produced severe overcrowding in the State's juvenile facilities. The problem is magnified because such overcrowding often contributes to an environment that fosters aggressive or antisocial behavior, posing danger not only to the weaker residents of the facility, but also to the surrounding community. Overcrowding also can lead to the "misplacement" of juvenile offenders who should be assigned to medium security facilities, but because of space constraints are placed in minimum security centers. Such "misplacements" place both the residents of the facility and the surrounding community at great risk. The more aggressive and violent residents in such situations prey upon the younger, more passive and pliant juveniles and are far more likely to escape and disrupt the peace, tranquility and public well-being of the surrounding community.
These problems are compounded by the fact that the State's current juvenile facilities are outdated, outmoded, and structurally inadequate to meet New Jersey's juvenile justice needs.
Nowhere are these myriad problems more in evidence than the New Jersey Training School for Boys.
b. The Legislature, therefore, declares:
It is altogether fitting and proper, and within the public interest, to close the New Jersey Training School for Boys; to establish a new, centralized facility to adequately and effectively address the juvenile justice needs of this State; and to assure this new facility is specifically designed to provide for the general safety and well-being of both the residents and the surrounding community by adequately, effectively and efficiently incorporating all the security measures necessary to isolate those juveniles warranting medium security incarceration from those requiring only minimum security and, most importantly, insuring the continued tranquility and well-being of the surrounding community.
c. The Legislature further declares:
It is also fitting and proper, and valid public policy, to recognize that the siting of this new juvenile facility should be a joint venture on the part of the State and the host municipality; that no facility should be established in any municipality without the formal approval of that community; and that the State should afford certain host benefits to that municipality which agrees to the construction and establishment of this new juvenile justice facility within its borders.
2. With the moneys allocated under the provisions of P.L. , c. (C. )(now pending before the Legislature as Senate, No. 295), there shall be constructed a juvenile correctional facility as hereinafter provided.
3. The facility shall be designed and structured to address the particular juvenile justice needs of this State. To insure the most efficient and cost-effective facility possible, it shall be established as a centralized institution, providing both medium and minimum security custodial and residential structures, but designed and constructed in such a manner and location that there shall be no intermingling of the juveniles committed to the medium security sector of the facility with those placed in the minimum security sector.
To insure the peace, tranquility and public well-being of the surrounding community, the facility shall be designed and shall incorporate all such security equipment, structures and devices, including electronic and remote video systems, as are warranted and necessary.
The facility shall be of a size as shall be necessary to address the present and future custodial and residential juvenile justice needs of the State, and shall include such open spaces and separate structures and facilities as shall be appropriate to adequately provide for the educational, vocational and recreational requirements of the juvenile justice system and the specialized physical, psychological and social needs of the juveniles placed in the facility.
4. No juvenile justice facility shall be constructed in any municipality of this State, and no moneys raised from the sale of bonds issued under the provisions of P.L. , c. (C. )(now pending before the Legislature as Senate, No. 295) shall be allocated for the construction of any juvenile justice facility in any municipality of this State, unless that municipality shall agree, by ordinance, to the construction of that facility within its borders.
5. Recognizing the financial stress the establishment of a juvenile justice facility can pose for a host municipality, the State, through the Juvenile Justice Commission, is hereby authorized to negotiate and enter into an agreement to offer that municipality certain host benefits as compensation for agreeing to accept the construction of a juvenile justice facility within its borders. The host benefit agreement may include any or all of the following:
a. Annual payments in lieu of taxes, as authorized under P.L.1977, c.272 (C.54:4-2a et seq.);
b. Annual grants from the "Safe Neighborhoods Services Fund" established under the provisions of the "Safe and Secure Communities Act," P.L.1993, c.220 (C.52:17B-159 et seq.) to provide funding for additional municipal law enforcement officers to insure the public safety and well being of the communities surrounding the juvenile facility;
c. Reimbursement payments, based on a contractual agreement between the municipality and the Juvenile Justice Commission, to compensate the municipality for any direct and actual law enforcement costs incurred in providing mutual assistance or other support services to the facility;
d. Preferential employment opportunities at the facility for qualified residents of the municipality; and
e. Establishment of an Income Tax Reinvestment Zone in which the State agrees to remit annually to the chief financial officer of the host municipality an amount of the total collected by the State under the provisions of the "New Jersey Gross Income Tax Act" (N.J.S.54A:1-1 et seq.) from the employees of the juvenile justice facility. The amount annually remitted shall not exceed 75 percent of the total collected by the State from those employees and shall be utilized exclusively to provide property tax relief to the residential property owners of the municipality.
6. Upon the construction of the juvenile justice facility authorized under this act, the State shall dispose of the properties it holds in any county of the second class having a population in excess of 600,000, according to the 1990 federal decennial census, which, on the effective date of this act, is being used as a residential training facility and custodial center for more than 250 juvenile offenders.
Any moneys realized from the disposition of that property shall be used exclusively by the State for the purposes of the defraying the costs associated with the construction of the facility authorized under this act.
7. No moneys shall be allocated from the amounts raised from the sale of bonds issued under the provisions of P.L. , c. (C. )(now pending before the Legislature as Senate, No. 295) to renovate, rehabilitate or expand any residential training facility or custodial center operated by the Juvenile Justice Commission and which:
a. has a design capacity in excess of 350 juvenile offenders; and
b. is located in a county of the second class having a population in excess of 600,000, according to the 1990 federal decennial census, unless the governing body of that municipality, by ordinance, shall approve such renovation, rehabilitation or expansion.
If a municipality approves any such renovation, rehabilitation or expansion, it shall be entitled to enter into a host benefit agreement as authorized in section 5 of this act.
8. This act shall take effect immediately, but shall remain inoperative until the approval of P.L. , c. (C. )(now pending before the Legislature as Senate, No. 295) by the voters of this State.
This bill authorizes the construction of a new juvenile justice correctional facility.
The dramatic increase in juveniles adjudicated delinquent of violent crimes has produced severe overcrowding in the State's juvenile facilities. This overcrowding poses risks and dangers both to the residents of the juvenile facilities and the communities surrounding those facilities. Overcrowding often leads to the intermingling of aggressive and violent juvenile offenders with younger and weaker youths. In many instances, the older more violent juveniles in the facility prey on the less aggressive residents. Overcrowding also is responsible for the "misplacement" into minimum security facilities of some juvenile offenders who should be in medium security facilities. Without the security systems and structures these "misplaced" offenders warrant, these minimum facilities are simply incapable of preventing escapes which threaten the public safety and well being of the surrounding community.
This bill calls for the construction of a new juvenile justice correctional facility with the moneys generated by the sale of bonds authorized upon the enactment of Senate Bill No. 295 of 1996 following voter approval.
The bill specifies that no facility may be constructed in any municipality without the approval of that municipality. A municipality would give its approval by adopting an ordinance.
Recognizing that a juvenile justice facility may pose certain financial stress for the host municipality, the bill authorizes the State to enter into host municipality benefit agreements. The host benefit agreement could provide the host municipality with payments in lieu of taxes; annual "Safe and Secure Communities" grants to provide for additional law enforcement officers; reimbursement payments to defray the actual and direct law enforcement costs the host municipality may incur in providing mutual assistance or other support services to the facility; preferential employment opportunities at the facility for residents of the host municipality; and the establishment of an "Income Tax Reinvestment Zone" in which the State would agree to annually remit a portion of the income tax money it collects from the employees of the facility. This remission, which could equal up to 75 percent of the amount the State collects, must be used to provide property tax relief to the residential property owners of the host municipality.
There are two final provisions of the bill. First, the bill directs the State to dispose of any property it currently uses as a residential training or custodial facility for more than 250 juveniles which is located in a county of the second class that has a population in excess of 600,000 and to utilize any moneys it realizes from the disposition of that facility to defray the costs of constructing a new facility.
Second, the bill prohibits the expenditure of any bond moneys for the renovation, rehabilitation or expansion of any existing residential training or custodial facility that is designed to house more than 350 juveniles and located in a county of the second class that has a population in excess of 600,000 without the approval of the host municipality. If the host municipality does give its approval for any such renovation, rehabilitation or expansion, it becomes eligible to participate in the host benefit program.
Authorizes construction of new juvenile justice facility.