Mukherji bill requiring corrections officers to have 30-minute shift overlaps clears Assembly

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A bill introduced by Raj Mukherji (D-33) requiring New Jersey corrections officers to have 30-minute shift overlaps cleared the full state Assembly yesterday.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Under Bill (A-2722), the New Jersey commissioner of corrections would be required to institute 30-minute shift overlaps in all of the 13 correctional facilities throughout the state.

An officer whose shift has ended would remain at their post for an additional 30 minutes to report what took place during their shift to the next officer.

“New Jersey’s correctional facilities previously benefited from shift overlap periods for their officers, but have phased them out in recent years. Officers no longer have sufficient time to pass along critical information to their fellow officers, a problem exacerbated by the ongoing global pandemic,” Mukherji, the chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.

“The lack of overlap has put both officers and inmates at risk since they have to rely on less informed methods of keeping everyone safe in our state prisons, such as institutional lockups and search details. Instituting shift overlaps again would help protect our officers and those in their charge, boost morale, improve communication between officers and help prevent unnecessary situations in our prisons.”

Back in April, Mukherji and Assemblywoman Gabriela Mosquera (D-4) led a joint hearing of the Judiciary Committee and Women and Children Committee to investigate the culture at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility and determine what protections have been put into place for inmates.

After an independent report detailed multiple abuses at the jail, Gov. Phil Murphy (D) has since announced that steps will be taken to close the prison for women.