MORRIS COUNTY — Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon announced today a new partnership between the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the New Jersey Reentry Corporation (NJRC) to help inmates released from the Morris County Correctional Facility successfully re-enter and assimilate back into the community.
The criminal recidivism rate is at about 47 percent; however, NJRC has demonstrated success at reducing the number of re-offenders who graduate its program to 19 percent of rearrests and under 10 percent reincarcerations, according to former New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey, who leads the NJRC.
“This is all about not having this continuous cycle; it’s about correcting the trajectory,” said McGreevey during a press conference at the correctional facility.
Under the collaboration and partnership with the Sheriff’s Office, at no cost to the county, NJRC will provide critical services to link former offenders to healthcare and addiction treatment, legal services, employment, skills training, and a means to re-establish identification credentials as they leave the correctional facility. The service will supplement the success of re-entry programs already underway at the correctional facility.
The goals of the collaboration between the Morris County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Corrections and NJRC include removing barriers to employment for people leaving incarceration or detainment, and reducing recidivism, which fosters safer communities while assisting the former inmates to find a path of sustainable living.
“The individuals who come into our care and custody at the Morris County Correctional Facility all have unique and different needs. We must be attentive to those needs. Working with NJRC will help us bridge existing gaps that we often see become pitfalls when individuals are released from custody. I am extremely pleased to be able to afford these additional services through this partnership with the NJRC,” said Sheriff James Gannon.
The NJRC, with the social services staff at the correctional facility and the county’s Successful Transition and Re-Entry Program (STAR) program will identify inmates who need assistance and the type of assistance required so that all individuals can be provided professional services that best address their specific needs.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll and Chief of Detectives Robert McNally were among a team of law enforcement officers and non-profit workers who also attended the press conference.
“I hope, down the road, people fully understand what everyone is trying to do here,” said Carroll.“Obviously, we care about what happens in the custodial end of this and what happens when the correctional system is done … We generate them back into the communities in a positive way. It’s a win for everybody.”
For a successful re-entry, ex-offenders need housing, food, medical care, clothing, substance abuse treatment, mental health care, employment, and education, according to research cited by the Sheriff’s Office. Re-entry programs that span all three phases of re-entry – preparation, service provision, and long-term support – are most successful. The STAR program helps inmates with all three of these phases.
“Morris County, the Sheriff’s Office, and all our members of law enforcement work hard every day to ensure our communities are safe, such that the quality of life of our residents and visitors remains one of the best in the nation. Supporting inmates being released from custody with these essential services can help improve outcomes with their re-entry and positively shape their influence in our communities,” said Morris County Commissioner Doug Cabana, the board’s liaison to law enforcement.
The NJRC is a non-profit agency with a social mission to remove all barriers to employment for citizens returning from jail or prison. It grew from a pilot program launched in Hudson County supported by the state in 2014 and has been spearheaded by McGreevey, who has expanded the program elsewhere in New Jersey.