A Rare Retort

Governor Christie usually lets unfavorable media stories roll right off of his back.

Not this time.

In a rare move, the Governor’s office responded directly this afternoon to a series in The New York Times detailing allegedly substandard conditions at Garden State halfway houses. Why is this big news? I’m not sure it is as of this writing, Save Jerseyans, but the Old Gray Lady’s hook is the involvement of Bill Palatucci, a top Christie adviser, inner-circle gatekeeper and close personal friend, who reportedly did work for the non-profit at the center of this controversy.

The Governor’s statement: 

While many of the disturbing accounts reported in today’s New York Times documenting lax oversight and accountability in some of New Jersey’s halfway houses took place prior to this administration, we have an obligation to ensure the community placements program is effectively and safely operating today. This administration takes its responsibility to properly administer this program very seriously which is why we have increased monitoring of halfway houses with enhanced site visits, fines for noncompliance and a new inspection monitoring system that has led to a dramatic decrease in the number of walkaways under this administration.

“New Jersey has been on the cutting edge of pursuing policies that both ensure our most violent offenders stay off the streets, such as closing the early release loophole, and support a more rehabilitative approach focused on nonviolent offenders. We need to constantly ensure these policies are being responsibly and safely implemented which is why I am calling on the Department of Corrections Commissioner Gary Lanigan to immediately step up inspections of all halfway houses and report any violations and recommendations for changes to the deputy chief of staff for policy.”

Just tuning into this story for the first time? Part 1 and Part 2 are worth a read. I’d also recommend reading this piece from the Philly Inquirer published last July for more background.

Time will tell whether there’s actually something here or, as is sadly often the case, Mr. Palatucci is simply a guilty of “prospering while Republican.” Having a relationship with Chris Christie is a known aggravating, sentence-enhancing factor for the liberal media lynch mob.


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