The New Jersey Department of Corrections fired 78 officers and civilian employees last year for infractions that included improper relationships with inmates, possessing drugs and simply not showing up to work, according to the Newark Star-Ledger. The 355 pages of personnel records for the year, obtained under the Open Public Records Act, reveal both the successes and failures of Corrections employees. Some saved lives and confiscated weapons. Others placed colleagues and inmates in harm’s way.
In total, the state awarded 622 commendations and issued 937 final disciplinary actions during 2008. There were 156 more disciplinary actions last year than in 2007, but about 100 less than the two preceding years. Corrections spokesman Matt Schuman said 20 of the 78 firings are still in the appeals process. He said there were 79 removals, all final, in 2007. Corrections spokeswoman Deirdre Fedkenheuer said the records show the department successfully weeds out underperforming and corrupt employees.