New Jersey Halfway Houses

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Talbot Hall Assesment Center, one of the facilities run by Community Education Centers in Kearny, NJ profiled in the New York Times report on halfway houses.

New York Times reporter Sam Dolnick discusses his 10-month long investigation into corruption and abuse in the New Jersey system of halfway houses.

Then, Dr. Robert Mackey, senior vice president for clinical services and research at Community Education Centers, the company that operates many halfway houses in the system, responds to the story.


Sam Dolnick and Robert Mackey

Comments [19]

Dolnick's article was great crime blotter stuff. Lot's of heart tugging, and all accurate.
And totally stupid.
The three strikes and mandatory sentencing laws have crammed prisons to the point of insanity and there's no end in sight.
The only re-entry strategies extant are programs in name only: once you have a record you are unemployable in this age of pervasive internet background checking, if you even get that far. We have turned smoking a joint into a life sentence for many inner city youth, and they know it and act increasingly like the death row inmates they have become. People like the anecdotal stuff Dolnick presented do what they do out of despair. They are people, not animals, and they are hurting people, not "victims".
Halfway houses are a cost effective answer to the underlying problem: we as a society (and the NJ locale has nothing to do with it) don't want to own the problem of our own sons and daughters becoming miscreants.
Building more prisons is a stupid response. Re-entry without a job is a stupid response. Handwringing at the half-assed Half-way houses is a stupid response. Blaming the Halfway house security laxity, the Governor's political backwash or anything other than ourselves as a society for making the fact of poverty and incarceration a life sentence of despair and confusion is horribly moronic. Security is not made with prisons, workhouses, armed guards or any other such idiocy.
Public policy made by heart tugging and muckraking usually ends up with more restrictions, more expense and poorer results. The math is simple.
Legalize marijuana and solve 80% of this problem INSTANTLY.

Get a grip, people.

Sep. 20 2013 10:22 AM
stella tulli from Garfield, NJ

I find it funny that Mr. Mackey slams the NY Times article, but Christie responds asking for inspections. IF nothing is wrong, why ask to look into the conditions.. Furthermore, if procedures WERE in place, how is it that David Goodell repeatedly had a cellphone- CONTRABAND- and had this removed from him SEVERAL times with no punishment.. How is my sister dead if this criminal was kept in line?

Jun. 20 2012 02:56 PM


Thank you for your story!

It illustrates perfectly how corrupt and useless this system is.

I wish you and your brother all the best.

Jun. 20 2012 11:34 AM

I was the fumbling one on the air - anyway the reason I had called in was because while my brothers experience was not at the facility spoken about, they are all so very similar and the rampant drug use and violence apply to EVERY facility. And as the sister of an addict I've seen quite a few in the New Jersey area. The rehabs themselves are filled with drugs, and violent offenders killing sentencing time..and it's a shame for anyone that wants to get sober.

Jun. 20 2012 11:15 AM

Draconian drug laws and for profit prison systems are CRIMINAL.

And, really f*kN expensive.

When are we going to wise-up??

So stupid!

Jun. 20 2012 11:06 AM

That's right, Mr.Cheezzlwhiz from Manhattan, It's the New York Time's fault that Chris Christie is a corrupt, fat slob.

Jun. 20 2012 10:49 AM
Wenke Taule from Ringwood NJ

These halfway houses are making a whole lot of money, but still refuse to pay their workers a decent wage. At $11 an hour how many professionals will these institutions be able to hire?

Crime is a big business and it should not be. Privatization of criminal justice is wrong!

Jun. 20 2012 10:47 AM

From the Times article:

"“People have to be held accountable for their own behavior,” said Dr. Mackey, the company’s senior executive."

Yeah, and that includes YOU and your CRONIES!!!!

Jun. 20 2012 10:44 AM
Close reader

Mackey got the better end of this deal. He kicked off asserting the Times story had no "facts" in it -- a claim he didn't substantiate and which Lehrer just let roll... He got lots of minutes, on a good platform, to share company propoganda and save some face. A response is good, but I think WNYC might have let Mackey have a bit too much here.

Jun. 20 2012 10:44 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

yeh, send him to a Jersey have way house.

Jun. 20 2012 10:44 AM

Robert Mackey came very close to slandering Sam Dolnick. Dolnick should really be given a chance to respond, especially since Mackey is essentially on to rebut Dolnick's report.

Jun. 20 2012 10:43 AM

Robert Mackey is clearly lying. He has just directly negated the very testimony of residents of these facilities. If a resident says he feels unsafe, it is no response AT ALL simply to respond, as Mackey does, that the suggestion is "ridiculous."

Mackey is lying. Put him on a witness stand, get him to perjure himself, and imprison him.

Jun. 20 2012 10:38 AM
The Truth from Becky

A very good series, this situation needed to be exposed.

Jun. 20 2012 10:38 AM

It makes perfect sense that Community Education (name's a joke) was started by John Clancy who got his start by operating a "drug treatment" center in Hoboken. Most of these so-called treatment centers are nothing but insurance soaks. You'll get as much "treatment" as your insurance covers - no more, and certainly no less (that would be leaving money on the table). Clancy realized that he could get richer by warehousing people and taking his money from the government (and the tax-payers) rather than the insurance companies. END THE PRIVATE PRISON INDUSTRY NOW!

And Chuzzle - how is this an attack on Christie? The article makes it very clear this is a bi-partisan disaster. And what the hell does Obama have to do with it? Although I long for the day (in vain, I know) when he (or any President) condemns the private prison industry for the moral blight on our society that it is.

Jun. 20 2012 10:37 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan,
you don’t have to listen to this show and go to the wonderful Fascist world of Rush Limbaugh.

Jun. 20 2012 10:35 AM
jeff pappas from Dumbo

Regarding Escapes , Even half of 5000 is a rather large number Dude !
Not to mention the conflick of interest in a for profit half way house ....

Jun. 20 2012 10:35 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Hello New Jersey, is governor Chris Christie beginning vetted by the Romney campaign as a potential VP running mate?

Jun. 20 2012 10:31 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Blah, blah....another exaggerated expose'("investigative jounalism") that is ultimately another Christie hit piece by the deeply partisan, self-important New York Times.....aided and abetted by our friends at Obama Public Radio.

Jun. 20 2012 10:20 AM
David from Upper West Side

Excellent series, thanks for all the hard work and for spotlighting this story Brian. The one thing that is inexplicable to me is that people in halfway houses had to be on good behavior to get into a halfway house, and they are near the end of their sentence - why would they possibly escape/abscond at such a high rate if they are about to be out of the system entirely? It makes no sense to me...

Jun. 20 2012 10:16 AM

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