Chiaravalloti, Chaparro, & Mejia bill would create NJ DOC RFP process to improve jail efficiency

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A bill sponsored by local Assembly members Nick Chiaravalloti (D-31), Annette Chaparro (D-33), Pedro Mejia (D-32), and Carol Murphy (D-7) would create a request for proposals process for the New Jersey Department of Corrections to improve jail efficiency.

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By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“As the prison population of our state steadily declines due to our efforts to rehabilitate offenders and find alternatives to imprisonment, we must consider ways in which we can improve the efficiency of our correctional facilities,” the four state legislators said in a joint statement.

“Consolidating facilities, utilizing energy-efficient power sources, and reassigning staff are just some of the ways we may be able to improve our prisons. An evaluation of our existing prison system and consideration of various cost-effective strategies will help us implement changes that will save taxpayer money and ensure a fairer, more efficient system in the long-run.”

Bill (A-5753) was one of five advanced by the Assembly Women and Children Committee today dealing with prison reform and would require the NJ DOC commissioner to develop a  RFP for projects related a jail closure or consolidation, reduction and/or reassignment of jail staff, and changes to energy efficiency – among other things.

In response to frequent abuses at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, the measures aim to enhance ongoing efforts to improve the criminal justice system by ensuring accuracy, efficiency and fairness.

Under the bill, applicants would be required to submit information such as the purpose of their participation, their budget, and a description of their experience and potential methodologies/resources. Preference would be given to non-profit applicants with experience in the development of prison downsizing strategies.

The bill mandates that the Commissioner is to oversee, coordinate and assist the project, then provide the results of the establishment of the project.

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