Community Education Centers

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Community Education Centers is a private for-profit prison company based in West Caldwell, New Jersey and active in seventeen American states and in Bermuda.[1][2][3]

The company is described in the press as having close ties to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.[4] In 2011, New Jersey and its counties spent about $105 million on halfway houses. Of that amount, about $71 million went to Community Education Centers.[5]

The firm operates fourteen jails, mostly in Texas. Its largest “secure facility” is the George W Hill Correctional Facility in Thornton, Pennsylvania with a capacity of 1,883.[6] It also has contracts for twenty six “residential reentry” facilities, more commonly called “halfway houses.” The largest of these is Delaney Hall in Newark, New Jersey with a capacity of 1,196.[6] It also offers a number of residential treatment programs funded by Native American tribes in six states.[6]

In addition to contracts with cities, counties and states, the firm also provides "reentry services" in four states to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.[7]

In June, 2012, the New York Times published the results of a 10-month long investigation into the halfway houses operated by the firm in New Jersey. Almost three quarters of one group of inmates at a New Jersey facility tested positive for various drugs. Although government contracts required inmates be provided therapy and job training no such programs were offered.[4]

The firm is paid about seventy dollars a day to house each inmate, about half the cost of a prisoner held in a state-run facility. Some of the inmates in the facilities retain connections to gangs. The Delaney Hall facility, for example, includes inmates affiliated with the Bloods.[3] Drugs are widely available at least at the New Jersey sites covered by the report.[4]

In January, 2012, the Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Corrections Department, Lydell B Sherrer plead guilty to federal extortion charges related to jobs at the facilities.[4]

In July 2012, the New Jersey State Legislature held two days of hearings on halfway houses in the state. Shortly after the hearings, the state imposed a fine of $45,000 on contractors including Community Education Centers for not notifying state authorities promptly when inmates escaped. Six inmates escaped from facilities run my the firm.[8]

The company's senior vice president is William J. Palatucci, a close friend and advisor to Governor Christie. He and the governor's brother Todd Christie co-chaired the governor's inaugural committee.[9]

References

  1. ^ Community Education Centers homepage accessed 18 June 2012.
  2. ^ Biography of founder John J Clancey at [1] retrieved 18 June 2012
  3. ^ a b At a New Jersey Halfway House, a Volatile Mix Fuels a Murder, By Same Dolnick, New York Times, 19 June 2012
  4. ^ a b c d ”At Bo Robinson, Halfway House in New Jersey, Bedlam Reigns, by Sam Dolnick, New York Times, 18 June 2012”
  5. ^ Christie Orders New Inspctions on Halfway Houses, by Sam Dolnick, 19 June 2012, New York Times
  6. ^ a b c Community Education Centers homepage accessed 18 June 2012
  7. ^ Company press release, 31 May 2012, accessed 18 June 2012[2]
  8. ^ New Jersey Fines Halfway Houses over Inmate Escapes, by Sam Dolnick, New York Times, 15 August, 2012
  9. ^ Christie’s brother, Palatucci to co-chair inaugural, by Michael Symons, Asbury Park Press, 5 November 2009