NCRJ Letter to the New Jersey Corrections Commissioner

[Note: Friends of Justice is a personal blog. I speak only for myself.]

November 21, 2011

Mr. Gary Lanigan, Commissioner
Department of Corrections
POB 863
Trenton NJ 08625

Dear Commissioner Lanigan,

The National Center for Reason and Justice (NCRJ) is a 501 (c)(3) organization that fights for justice and due process of law. Our focus is those who have been falsely accused or wrongfully convicted of crimes against children.

Recently, one of our supporters sent us a copy of a disturbing letter he had received from an inmate at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC) in Avenel, New Jersey.

We are very concerned. Outraged, would be a better word. The letter describes an institutional shakedown on November 3rd by the Special Operations Group (SOG). The letter details needless destruction of property and cruel and unlawful physical assault and battery, as well as various forms of gross psychological abuse inflicted by those in positions of power upon those powerless to redress the abuse. We understand that the abuses were documented in many grievances and incident reports filed by inmates, therapists, and custody staff.

We also understand that SOG complained about the policy of the ADTC that permits participants of the Hobby and Music programs to keep music and art supplies in their housing areas. Confining these materials to the Art and Music rooms would effectively kill these valuable therapeutic programs, because the Art and Music rooms lack the space and time slots to accommodate all of the participating inmates. We hope that you will not alter the current polices.

Our primary concern, however, is the violent and unlawful behavior of SOG staff. A full and fair investigation of the events of November 3rd is in order. We urge your office to take action to assure that such atrocities do not recur, at ADTC or elsewhere within the New Jersey Correctional System. Apologies must be issued and restitution must be afforded. We also demand an investigation into the history and suitability of some of your staff members to hold positions of public trust and responsibility.


Robert B. Chatelle
Executive Director, National Center for Reason and Justice



Those of you with strong stomachs may wish to read the letter from the inmate.