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NJ’s former inmates need more health care, housing help to stay out of prison, report says

Ashley Balcerzak | October 22, 2019 | North Jersey Record |


When Haywood Gandy left prison after serving 20 years for armed robbery, he said it was “a panic-filled moment.”

“It was lights out, 20 years later, lights on. The world looked completely different,” Gandy said. “How do we tie all of this together? Because if I don’t know how to use a computer, if I don’t know where I’m going to live, if I don’t know where I’m going to work, if I don’t know how to keep a job … These are skills that men and women coming home, we need these.”

In a wide-ranging report that comprehensively examined how New Jersey treats former prisoners, a state commission laid out 100 recommendations to help formerly incarcerated people transition to life after prison, and detailed ways the state could help prevent them from going back to prison.

New Jersey state correctional institutions currently hold more than 19,000 prisoners, the report said. Around 3,200 are in federal prisons and 12,000 are in the county jail system. Last year, the state released 9,000 people.


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