2021 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 52 - State Government, Departments and Officers
Section 52:27EE-28 - Corrections Ombudsperson; duties.

52:27EE-28 Corrections Ombudsperson; duties.

28. Corrections Ombudsperson; duties.

a. The Corrections Ombudsperson shall establish and implement procedures for eliciting, receiving, processing, responding, and resolving complaints from inmates, their families, other interested citizens, public officials, and government agencies concerning conditions in the correctional facilities noted in section 27 of P.L.2005, c.155 (C.52:27EE-27).

b. To implement the provisions of P.L.2019, c.288, the ombudsperson shall:

(1) establish priorities for use of the resources available to the ombudsperson;

(2) maintain a Statewide toll-free telephone number, a collect telephone number, a website, and a mailing address for the receipt of complaints and inquiries;

(3) provide information, as appropriate, to inmates, family members and representatives of inmates, department employees, and others regarding the rights of inmates;

(4) provide technical assistance to support inmate participation in self-advocacy;

(5) monitor compliance with applicable federal, State, county, and municipal laws, rules, regulations, and policies related to the health, safety, welfare, and rehabilitation of inmates;

(6) monitor and participate in legislative and policy developments affecting correctional facilities;

(7) establish a Statewide uniform reporting system to collect and analyze data related to complaints received by the ombudsperson regarding the department;

(8) establish procedures to receive, investigate, and resolve complaints;

(9) establish procedures to gather stakeholder input into the ombudsperson's activities and priorities, which shall include holding public meetings at least quarterly;

(10) by November 1st of each year, annually submit to the Governor's office and the Legislature, and make publicly available, a report that is both aggregated and disaggregated by each facility and includes, at a minimum, the following information:

(a) the budget and expenditures of the ombudsperson;

(b) the number of complaints received and resolved by the ombudsperson;

(c) a description of significant systemic or individual investigations or outcomes achieved by the ombudsperson in the preceding year;

(d) any outstanding or unresolved concerns or recommendations of the ombudsperson; and

(e) input and comments from stakeholders regarding the ombudsperson's activities during the preceding year.

(11) promote awareness among department employees, inmates, and family members and other members of the public regarding:

(a) how the Office of Corrections Ombudsperson may be contacted;

(b) the purpose of the office; and

(c) the services provided by the office.

(l2) provide assistance to an inmate or family member whom the ombudsperson determines is in need of assistance, including advocating with an agency, provider, or other person in the best interests of the inmate;

(13) make appropriate referrals under any of the powers and duties of the office, including to appropriate law enforcement authorities when criminal complaints by inmates are received by the office;

(14) attend any relevant training provided to correctional officers and participate in other appropriate professional training;

(15) notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, review criminal investigations to ensure the investigations were accurate, unbiased, and thorough without investigating alleged criminal behavior; and

(16) adopt and comply with rules, policies, and procedures necessary to implement the provisions of P.L.2019, c.288.

L.2005, c.155, s.28; amended 2019, c.288, s.7.

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