2021 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 52 - State Government, Departments and Officers
Section 52:27EE-28.2 - Inspections of State correctional facilities.

52:27EE-28.2 Inspections of State correctional facilities.

9. The corrections ombudsperson shall conduct inspections of State correctional facilities in accordance with the provisions of this section.

a. The ombudsperson shall conduct regular inspections of all department facilities and issue public reports of all inspections.

b. Except for ongoing criminal investigations, Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) investigations, or other information, records, or investigations deemed confidential by the Special Investigations Division of the department, and with the exception of Special Investigations Division evidence rooms, the ombudsperson may inspect, examine, or assess all aspects of a facility's operations and conditions including, but not limited to:

(1) staff recruitment, training, supervision, and discipline;

(2) inmate deaths or serious injuries;

(3) incidences of physical and sexual assault;

(4) medical and mental-health care;

(5) use of force;

(6) inmate violence;

(7) conditions of confinement;

(8) inmate disciplinary processes;

(9) inmate grievance processes;

(10) substance-abuse treatment;

(11) educational, vocational, and other programming;

(12) family visitation and communication practices; and

(13) rehabilitation, reentry, and integration practices.

c. Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, the ombudsperson shall utilize a range of methods to gather and substantiate facts, including observations, interviews with inmates, inmate surveys, document and record reviews, reports, statistics, and performance-based outcome measures.

d. Facility and other governmental officials are authorized and shall be required to cooperate fully and promptly with inspections.

e. Except as provided in subsection b. of this section, the ombudsperson shall be vested with the authority to conduct both scheduled and unannounced inspections of any part or all of the facility at any time. The ombudsperson shall adopt procedures to ensure that unannounced inspections are conducted in a reasonable manner.

f. Facility administrators shall be provided an opportunity to review reports and provide feedback about them to the ombudsperson before their dissemination to the public, but the release of the reports is not subject to approval from any entity or person outside the office.

g. Reports shall apply legal requirements, best correctional practices, and other criteria to objectively and accurately review and assess a facility's policies, procedures, programs, and practices; identify systemic problems and the reasons for them; and proffer possible solutions to those problems.

h. Subject to reasonable privacy and security requirements, or as may be necessary to protect the safety or privacy of persons or the safe, secure, and orderly operation of State correctional facilities, as determined by the department or the Special Investigations Division, the ombudsperson's reports shall be public, accessible through the Internet, and distributed to the media, Legislature, Attorney General, and Governor.

i. Facility administrators shall publicly respond to monitoring reports; develop and implement in a timely fashion action plans to rectify problems identified in those reports; and to semi-annually inform the public of their progress in implementing these action plans.

j. The ombudsperson shall continue to assess and report on previously identified problems and the progress made in resolving them until the problems are resolved.

L.2019, c.288, s.9.

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