Christie Tries To Quash Efforts To Monitor Controversial Half-Way Houses. I Wonder Why.

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Gov. Christie, who promised a full investigation of these private prisons, is truly an addle-brained chump if he thinks he can bully his way past this -- unless, of course, he's going to leave and run for vice president. (Naturally, it was done on a Friday - on a holiday weekend.)

But even if he already has that particular escape hatch nailed down, there's no way the national press corps will ignore this story if he gets the nomination:

TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie today limited an effort by the Legislature to learn more about the state's halfway houses, which have been criticized for being rife with mismanagement and violence.

In their budget proposal, Democrats inserted language that would have required the state Department of Corrections to report quarterly on the halfway houses, including the number of inmates convicted of violent and non-violent crimes, and the number of days they were imprisoned.The Democrats also sought information on the amount of money reimbursed to halfway houses for taking inmates, the rate of reimbursement, the number of escapes and the number of incidents involving physical violence.

The governor, however, struck out language that would have required the department to report the actions taken to protect inmates imprisoned for non-violent crimes from those imprisoned for violent crimes. Christie also batted back a request for disciplinary actions against inmates accused of violence, and actions taken to prevent violence.

Christie said in his veto message that those requests would compromise the safety and security of the facilities and the inmates. But Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex) said in a statement the governor's moves were "concerning and troubling."

More likely, it would compromise the safety and security of the information about how much money was pouring into the pockets of Bill Palatucci and other donors. God, I'm such a cynic!

"This language was placed in there to ensure the public safety of the general public, inmates and employees, and according to recent reports is sorely needed," Oliver said, referencing a recent series by the New York Times on problems at the state's halfway houses. "The Assembly will certainly be moving forward on plans for hearings."

The governor also deleted a provision that would have required the corrections department to make quarterly reports. As it stands, the budget does not specify when or how often the reports must now be made.

The rest of the Times series here and here.


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