The New Jersey Department of Corrections last year fired 52 prison officers and civilian employees for infractions ranging from smuggling contraband into prisons and losing keys to taking illegal drugs and failing to show up for work, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. In total, 781 final disciplinary actions were taken against Corrections employees, prompting everything from reprimands to suspensions and firings, according to 281 pages of records obtained by the paper under the Open Public Records Act.
At the same time, the department issued more than 700 commendations to officers and employees for extraordinary service on the job, the records show. The charges against officers and civilian employees reveal how they put themselves and inmates at risk. The 52 firings by the Department of Corrections were fewer than the 69 in 2006, but more than 2005, when 33 were let go. Corrections declined to say why most employees were fired, saying they may still appeal the termination. It did release details on the 781 final disciplinary charges. Among other things, officers assaulted prisoners, allowed them to talk to unauthorized visitors and once sent the wrong inmate to a court hearing, the documents show.