Documents obtained by Hudson County View reveal that in 2006, Hudson County released then-juveniles Shiquan Bellamy and Mohammed Alessa into the juvenile In Home Detention (IHD) program, despite the warnings of a community youth worker.
Hudson County released a future serial killer and terrorist, as well as other dangerous youth, into the juvenile In Home Detention (IHD) program possibly due to overcrowding at the now closed Hudson County Youth House, despite the warnings of a community youth worker.
Joe Perry, a former Hudson County community youth worker, was awarded $400,000 in 2011 by a jury in Hudson County Superior Court after being wrongfully terminated for engaging in “protected whistle-blowing activities by complaining to his supervisors and to the Juvenile Justice Commission about the manner [Hudson County] operated the juvenile In Home Detention Program,” according to court documents from the county’s unsuccessful appeal of the case.
Perry filed a civil action against the county after he was terminated from his position in 2007, alleging “supervisory level staff” were harassing him after he began alerting officials about dangerous youth being released.
Two names in particular, Shiquan Bellamy and Mohammed Alessa, raise concerns regarding some of the juveniles the county was releasing into the program.
Bellamy is currently serving life in prison on four counts of murder and one count of aggravated manslaughter, among other charges.
Alessa was convicted for conspiring to travel to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab, an international terrorist group, and carry out violent attacks.
In October 2006, the FBI received a tip concerning activities Alessa was involved in, according to the United States Department of Justice.
In addition to Bellamy and Alessa, a 2005 memo from Perry (as well as fellow community youth worker Jerol Barnes and former program supervisor Abdul Muhammed), expressed concerns regarding other youth with serious criminal charges – including possession of a weapon and aggravated assault/homicide – being released into the program.
In April 2011, after he won his civil case against the county, Perry sent a letter to former New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow asking for an investigation into the IHD program.
“I cannot help but wonder if [Bellamy and Alessa] had been appropriately incarcerated in a youth facility, instead of being released into the community, there may have been a chance that these juveniles could have been properly rehabilitated,” he wrote in the letter.
The letter was also sent to Gov. Chris Christie, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, state Senator Sandra Cunningham, then-Councilman Steven Fulop, and other elected officials at the time, as well as various media outlets.
After receiving what he claimed was “a lack of response” to the April 2011 letter, Perry sent another letter to Dow in August of 2011 in which he stated “it appears that all of my cries for help have fallen on deaf ears.”
Hudson County spokesman Jim Kennelly told Hudson County View via email that “judges, not ‘Hudson County’ ultimately make those decisions” regarding Perry’s suit and he declined to comment on questions regarding the release of Bellamy and Alessa and whether any reforms to the program have been implemented.