Criminal Justice

N.J. prisons get so-so grade on pandemic response — but still the best in the U.S.

BY: - September 1, 2021

A civil rights group that graded prisons nationwide on how they handled the COVID-19 pandemic gave New Jersey a ‘C’ — and blasted the response of correctional facilities around the country as “a shameful failure.” New Jersey’s mediocre grade was the best in a bad showing by all states, which are “failing on even the […]

Reformers eye N.J.’s top court in push for shorter prison terms for juvenile offenders

BY: - August 31, 2021

When Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver recently signed a new law intended to divert juvenile lawbreakers away from prison, a long line of legislators gave speeches to declare there are no disposable children in New Jersey and kids who make mistakes deserve a second chance. But reformers say that’s not true in New Jersey for juveniles […]

Criminal charges for Passaic surrogate over estate dispute involving friend

BY: - August 27, 2021

This story was updated with comment from an attorney for Toledo at 4:03 p.m. on Aug. 27. State authorities lodged a criminal charge against Passaic County Surrogate Bernice Toledo claiming she falsified a judgement during an estate dispute to benefit a personal friend. Toledo, 51, a Democrat, faces a single count of fourth-degree falsifying or […]

Groups demand protections for transgender inmates in county jails

BY: - August 27, 2021

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and Garden State Equality on Thursday urged officials running jails in New Jersey’s 21 counties to house inmates by their gender identity, not the gender they were assigned at birth. The civil rights groups, which made their plea in a letter to the state’s jail wardens, noted […]

Judiciary plan calls for demographic data collection, better access to court records

BY: - August 26, 2021

The New Jersey Supreme Court unveiled its plan for reducing bias in the state’s judiciary branch on Wednesday. The nine-point plan includes a call for partnerships between lawmakers, state agencies, and jurists to increase job opportunities and training for drug court participants and those on probation, plus mandatory bias training for all court employees. “The […]

Impact of new prison redistricting law remains unclear

BY: - August 23, 2021

The impact of a new law that will count incarcerated New Jerseyans as living in their home communities — hailed by supporters as an end to “prison gerrymandering” — remains unclear. “It was a long time coming,” said state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Mercer), a sponsor. “In fact, it’s long past time that we eliminate prison […]

Governor Phil Murphy signing a bill

Future ICE detention contracts banned by N.J. law

BY: - August 20, 2021

Private and public New Jersey facilities are barred from signing contracts to imprison federal immigrant detainees under a new law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy Friday. Immigrant organizations, attorneys, and family members have advocated for years to end the lucrative business of immigrant detention in the Garden State. Murphy signed the bill quietly, without the […]

Essex County no longer in ICE business, but activists hold their cheers

BY: - August 19, 2021

For 13 years, the Essex County jail that held undocumented immigrants was at the center of fiery protests and confrontations, both from activists protesting in the streets of Newark and the detainees staging hunger strikes inside. Essex County Correctional Facility finally ceded to activists this year and cut its contract with U.S. Immigration and Customs […]

Married State Police detectives who lied about bar fight terminated, barred from public jobs

BY: - August 17, 2021

Two married New Jersey State Police detectives will give up their posts and be barred from future public employment after lying about their role in a North Wildwood bar fight, acting state Attorney General Andrew Bruck announced Monday. Sgt. Gregory and Sgt. Dorothy Ogden, both of Hammonton, were accepted into a pretrial intervention program, and […]

N.J Supreme Court says courts should collect jury demographic data

BY: - August 16, 2021

New Jersey’s top court ruled Monday a convicted attempted arsonist failed to prove the trial court’s primarily virtual, hybrid jury-selection process deprived him of a jury representative of his diverse community. The case represents one of the first challenges to whether a defendant can get a fair trial when the pandemic has pushed so much […]

Progressive activists call for investigation into senator for alleged ‘no-show job’

BY: - August 13, 2021

Sen. Nicholas Scutari, who was the subject of several investigations into his job as Linden’s prosecutor, is facing intensifying criticism, now from a group of progressive Democrat activists who want the state’s Joint Legislative Committee of Ethical Standards to probe Scutari’s actions. One of the activists behind the ethics probe demand, Sue Altman, director of […]

New law aims to slash youth incarceration, expand community supports

BY: - August 12, 2021

Acting Gov. Sheila Oliver on Wednesday signed legislation that will pump $8.4 million into a two-year restorative justice program supporters say will keep kids out of jail and erase racial disparities in New Jersey’s expensive juvenile justice system. The money will fund community-based services intended to do two things: resolve conflicts before they lead to incarceration […]