NJ Prisons Are Inside Out

STATE—Corrections officials had announced the closing of New Jersey’s second newest prison in January and began transferring prisoners to other facilities throughout the state.

While it took only six months to shut down Riverfront State Prison to permit greedy developers to exploit the 17-acre tract in Camden, almost nothing has been done to contain the degree to which murderers, rapists and gang members are said to control the inside of New Jersey’s prisons.

The State Commission of Investigation released a report in May stating that gangs such as the Bloods coordinate criminal activity from inside state prisons in a manner so violent and pervasive that they have replaced the Italian Mafia as New Jersey’s most dangerous organized crime groups.

More than 4,600 of the state’s estimated 22,000 prison inmates have been identified as gang members, according to the SCI.

While the SCI found most DOC employees are honest, systemic problems prevent the weeding out of gang influence among employees.

In 2005, the state Department of Corrections stopped interviewing officer applicants at their homes and questioning their neighbors, due to limited resources.  The agency only recently began asking whether corrections officer applicants had gang affiliations.

The SCI report titled, “How and Why Organized Criminal Street Gangs Thrive in New Jersey’s Prisons,” can be viewed online at www.njtoday.net/resources/gang_report.pdf

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