New Jersey Department of Corrections

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State of New Jersey
Department of Corrections
Common name New Jersey Department of Corrections
Abbreviation NJDOC
Uniform Patch of the NJDOC
Current badge of the NJDOC
Motto Dedication, Honor, Integrity
Agency overview
Employees 24,000
Volunteers 1,500[1]
Annual budget 1.076 billion (2013)[2]
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of New Jersey, USA
USA New Jersey location map.svg
Map of State of New Jersey
Department of Corrections's jurisdiction.
Size 8,729 square miles (22,610 km2)
Population 8.899 million (2013)
Legal jurisdiction State of New Jersey
Governing body New Jersey Executive Branch
General nature
Specialist jurisdictions
  • Buildings and lands occupied or explicitly controlled by the institution and the institution's personnel, and public entering the buildings and precincts of the institution.
  • Buildings and lands occupied or explicitly controlled by the educational institution and the institution's personnel, and public entering the buildings and immediate precincts of the institution.
Operational structure
Headquarters Whittlesey Road
Trenton, New Jersey 08625
Corrections Officers 6,000
Staff Members 8,000
Agency executive Gary M. Lanigan, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections
Child agency Office of the Chief of Staff
  • Drug Interdiction Unit
  • Intelligence Unit
  • Fugitive Unit
  • Computer Forensic and Polygraph Unit
  • Internal Affairs Unit
  • Fleet Management Unit
  • Custody Recruitment Unit (CRU)
  • Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Compliance Unit
  • Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual (APPM) Unit
  • Central Medical Unit
  • Health Services Unit
  • Office of Legal Affairs & Regulatory Affairs
  • Office of Employee Relations (OER)
  • Office of the Corrections Ombudsman
  • Office of Public Information
  • Office of Human Resources
  • Office of Training
  • Office of Policy and Planning
  • Office of Financial Management
  • Office of Information Technology
  • Bureau of State Use Industries
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) is responsible for operations and management of prison facilities in the U.S. state of New Jersey. The department operates 13 major institutions — seven adult male correctional facilities, three youth facilities, one facility for sex offenders, one women's correctional institution and a central reception / intake unit — and a Stabilization and Reintegration Program. The department is headquartered in Trenton.

The NJDOC's facilities house a combined total of 20,000 inmates in minimum, medium and maximum security levels. Approximately 1,200 inmates are incarcerated, and an equal number released each month. The median term for inmates is six years. 47% of inmates are serving terms of one-to-five years; 17% are serving terms of six-to-nine years; and 33% are serving maximum sentences of 10 years or more. As of January 2003, 984 offenders were serving life sentences, including 14 offenders under capital sentences (Note though that all of these have now been commuted; see New Jersey Capital punishment).

Administration and organization

Departmental mission

The mission of the New Jersey Department of Corrections is to protect the public by operating safe, secure, and humane correctional facilities. The mission is realized through effective supervision, proper classification, appropriate treatment of offenders, and by providing services that promote successful reentry into society.[3] The department's articulated goals are:

  • To provide inmate safety and security through the custody and management of those individuals incarcerated within the Criminal Justice system.
  • To ensure the safety and welfare of the staff and inmate population.
  • To assist in the rehabilitative efforts for those incarcerated individuals returning to the community.
  • To promote public support for the operation and objectives of the Department of Corrections.[4]

Bureaucratic structure

  • Office of the Commissioner, which is currently held by Gary Lanigan [5].
  • Office of the Chief of Staff
  • Deputy Commissioner
    • Division of Programs and Community Services
    • Division of Administration
    • Division of Operations[5]
Division of Programs and Community Services

The Division of Programs and Community Services offers an array of institutional and community-based program opportunities for offenders, including community labor assistance, academic and vocational educational programs, recreational programs, library (lending and law) services, and substance abuse treatment. Other specialized services include victim awareness, chaplaincy services, county assistance quality assurance, liaison to Intensive Supervision Program and ombudsman services, which is a medium utilized by offenders to seek redress for problems and complaints. Additionally, the division contracts with private and nonprofit providers throughout the state to provide community-based residential treatment programs for offenders under community supervision. Public safety is enhanced through the development, coordination, administration and delivery of these institutional and community-based programs and services.[3]

Division of Administration

The Division of Administration is responsible for managing more than $880 million and employing nearly 10,000 persons, including 6,500 in custody positions to supervise approximately 27,000 inmates. The division provides administrative services to support the departmental mission in such major areas as Budget and Fiscal Management, Personnel, Policy and Planning and Information Systems.[3]

Division of Operations

The Division of Operations is responsible for 13 major institutions—11 adult male correctional facilities, one women's correctional institution and a central reception/intake unit—as well as a Stabilization and Reintegration Facility. These facilities collectively house approximately 27,000 inmates in minimum, medium, and maximum security levels. They are diverse and unique in their operations as well. For example, the maximum security New Jersey State Prison contains the state's Capital Sentence unit, for inmates under capital sentence. The Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center operates Corrections' rehabilitative program for habitual sex offenders. Northern State Prison contains the Security Threat Group Management Unit, which houses gang members considered a threat to the safety of the institutions and individuals. The Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, the state's only correctional institution for women, houses inmates at all levels of security.[3]

Correctional officer careers

Correctional officer training

Eligible Candidates will be appointed as Correction Officer Apprentice and will be required to satisfactorily complete a 14-week, in-residence NJ Police Training Commission course, at the Correctional Staff Training Academy. The Correctional Staff Training Academy conducts basic training for state correction officers, with instructors who are certified by the NJ police training Commission. Training classes include arrest, search and seizure, use of force, criminal law, first aid/CPR, weaponry, un-armed defensive tactics, intensive physical conditioning, security concepts, human relations and professional development.[6] Those who successfully complete the training program will be appointed as a correction officer recruit and will serve a one-year working test period. Upon satisfactory completion of the working test period, candidates will be promoted to senior correction officer and serve a four-month working test period. The academy training is divided into three areas of training:

  • Physical Fitness: The Physical Education and Self-Defense Program emphasizes physical conditioning which includes running and various strength building exercises.
  • Academics: The Academic portion of the Academy training will include a college level course of studies such as psychological and sociological issues, Language and Communications skills, Criminal Law, Constitutional Issues, Correctional and Peace Officer Practice procedures, etc. There will be comprehensive examinations and written assignments.
  • Firearms Training: Firearms Training includes firearms safety and weapon qualifications.[4]

Other Officer Career Opportunities

In addition to staffing 13 facilities throughout the state, the following positions are some of the career opportunities available to Senior Correction Officers within the Department of Corrections:

  • Central Transportation
  • Central Medical
  • Ceremonial Teams (Pipe Band/Honor Guard)
  • Correction Staff Training Academy
  • Critical Incident Negotiation Team
  • Custody Recruitment Unit
  • Interstate Transportation
  • K-9 Unit
  • Special Investigation Division
  • Special Operations[4]
Special Operations Group

The Special Operations Group provides NJDOC facilities with the tactical and technical support that is required during a crisis situation. The unit is a liaison with the State of New Jersey’s Office of Emergency Management and maintains mutual aid agreements with local, state and federal law enforcements agencies.[6]

Special Investigations Division

The SID is responsible for investigations into violations of the laws of the State of New Jersey and violations of the administrative code for the NJDOC by inmates, employees and those individuals who visit NJDOC facilities.The SID is represented at each facility, where investigators not only conduct all criminal and some administrative investigations, but also act as NJDOC liaisons to all law enforcement agencies. SID investigators regularly conduct cooperative investigations in conjunction with federal, state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies, and are called on to provide expert witness testimony in state and federal courts on a regular basis.[6]

Jurisdiction and law enforcement authority

New Jersey State Correction Officers, Parole Officers and Corrections Investigators are authorized to exercise police powers statewide. With this authority, Correction Officers are required to enforce NJRS 2C (New Jersey Criminal Code) within the scope of their employment.[7]

The New Jersey State Correction Officer is responsible, during an assigned tour of duty, to ensure the custody, safety and care of criminal offenders confined in State correctional facilities.[4]

New Jersey State Corrections Officers are authorized to carry on duty the Heckler & Koch USP in .40 S&W. Correction Officers may optionally qualify to carry an authorized off-duty firearm. All off-duty firearms and ammunition must conform to the approved list provided by the New Jersey Department of Corrections.[8]

Since the establishment of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, 24 officers have died in the line of duty.[9]


There are four sworn titles (referred to as ranks) in the New Jersey Department of Corrections:

Title Insignia Uniform Shirt Color
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O1 insignia.svg
French Blue
NYPD Sergeant Stripes.svg
French Blue
French Blue

Media campaigns

The New Jersey Department of Corrections established the "Be Smart Choose Freedom" television advertisement campaign in 2005. The State of New Jersey produced 30-60 second public service announcements to warn state residents against going to prison.[10] The Mississippi Department of Corrections, the state corrections agency of Mississippi, decided to start its own "Be Smart Choose Freedom" campaign and use the commercials that aired in New Jersey.[11] The NJDOC commercials were available in English, with one public service announcement also having a Spanish version.[12]


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Prison capacity and costs

According to the state budget for fiscal year 2016, the Department of Corrections has capacity to house 20,634 inmates and anticipates a daily average population of 18,894 inmates. It has 6,950 employees for a personnel ratio of 1 person for every 2.8 inmates. The state legislature appropriated $808.4 million to the Department of Corrections in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, of which $525 million was used in salaries and wages.[13]

Prison Inmate Capacity[13] Average daily population[13] Annual per capita cost[13] Daily per capita cost[13]
New Jersey State Prison 2,022 1,796 $4,408 $121.33
Northern State Prison 2,918 2,567 $35,497 $96.99
East Jersey State Prison 1,266 1,207 $49,302 $134.71
Central Reception and Assignment Facility 969 795 $53,674 $146.65
South Woods State Prison 3,474 3,354 $34,200 $93.44
Bayside State Prison 2,237 2,175 $30.648 $83.74
Southern State Correctional Facility 2,215 2,120 $31,840 $86.99
Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women 846 775 $65,716 $179.55
Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center 647 561 $68,494 $187.14
Garden State Youth Correctional Facility 1,896 1,675 $29,149 $79.64
Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility 1,053 935 $53,039 $144.91
Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility 1,091 934 $40,425 $110.45

See also


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  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 [1]
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 [2]
  5. [3]
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 [4]
  7. NJRS 2A:154-4 Corrections, parole officers, corrections investigators authorized to exercise police powers
  8. N.J.A.C. 10A:3-4 Use of firearms while on-duty and use of personal firearms while off-duty
  9. The Officer Down Memorial Page
  10. Fedkenheuer, Deirdre. "Be Smart - Choose Freedom: New Jersey unveils its crime prevention campaign." Corrections Today. April 2005. 1. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
  11. "Be Smart. Choose Freedom." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
  12. "Welcome to New Jersey's Department of Corrections." New Jersey Department of Corrections. March 2, 2005. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Office of Management and Budget (New Jersey Department of the Treasury), "Department and Branch Recommendations: Corrections" in State of New Jersey: The Governor's FY2016 Detailed Budget, February 25, 2015, D-66 through D-71. Retrieved August 13, 2015.

External links