Governor Murphy: Released Inmates During COVID-19 Have Nowhere to Go!

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From Prison to Homeless Shelters, New Jersey’s Released Prisoners Had Nowhere to Go, Until Now.

TRENTON-What sounded like a dumb idea by New Jersey Govenor Phil Murphy sounds even worse, weeks after jail inmates were set free from the state’s county jail system.  Murphy touted the plan as a measure to protect the health and safety of inmates and jail workers, but now has created a new problem.  Many of those released by Murphy have nowhere to go.

What we know…

  • Federal prison inmates being released at the rate of 460 individuals per month.
  • An unknown amount of county jail inmates released.
  • Many released inmates have no home to return to and cannot “Stay at Home”.
  • Former Governor James McGreevy runs NJ Re-entry which is helping to house these former inmates.
  • Inmates now staying in state-run homeless shelters instead of jails and prisons.

Enter another former Democrat Governor, James McGreevy who runs NJ Re-entry, which provides halfway house services to “court-involved” individuals, including persons having served the maximum sentence in state prison, state prison parolees, county jail probationers, Drug Court participants and persons leaving federal prisons.

Related news: COVID-19 outbreak reported in state jail system.

Today Murphy touted the solution to his own problem as he announced that he is now increasing the state’s emergency shelter capacity to provide a home for these recently released inmates, who were probably safer in the confines at the local county jail.    It’s not just county inmates, it’s also the steady stream of federal prison inmates that are emptying out into the streets of New Jersey.

“We are profoundly grateful for the Murphy Administration’s authorization of the operation of temporary emergency shelters for formerly incarcerated individuals who are homeless and/or unsheltered,” Murphy said. “Our men and women are often homeless upon release and that poses an enhanced threat to their own safety and well being, as well as to the overall community. As such, our men and women can not stay at home and cannot self quarantine.”

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While the county jail system is emptying out, as the Murphy administration puts violators back onto the streets, the emergency shelter capacity in the state is ready to burst.

“Thanks to the leadership and executive action of Governor Murphy, Lt. Governor Oliver, and DCA, New Jersey has increased our State’s emergency shelter capacity during this crisis by authorizing the operation of temporary emergency shelters. Many thanks to the willing providers of shelter, including houses of worship and other non-profits,” Murphy said.

According to Murphy, this measure addresses a dire need. As a result of COVID- 19, many shelters throughout the state are full, currently administering temperature testing, and individuals with temperatures of 100.4 are being turned away. Though understandable, this creates an untenable situation for our men and women.

The number of persons being released on regular basis is staggering: 460 individuals released from state prisons per month and approximately 8,300 individuals per month contacting the county jail system.

“The actions today of the Murphy Administration and DCA is an enormous step toward assisting marginalized New Jerseyans to access shelter, comply with public health orders, and reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19. As this health emergency continues, there is more work yet to be done,” Murphy added. We are also profoundly grateful to Commissioner Caorle Johonson, Department of Human Services, for her hard work, diligence, and responsiveness toward improving government services for the people we are privileged to serve.”