New Jersey

Governor Christie Marks Opening of New Jersey’s First Licensed Substance Use Disorder Treatment Prison

Governor Chris Christie joined Corrections and Human Services officials to reopen Mid-State Correctional Facility, which closed in June 2014, as the first licensed, clinically driven drug treatment prison in the state. The Governor directed the Department of Corrections and the Department of Human Services to implement the transformation during his 2016 State of the State Address. The Mid-State Facility is located on the grounds of Fort Dix in Wrightstown, Burlington County.

“Whether someone lives in the community or is incarcerated, every person with the disease of addiction deserves the best possible treatment so they can return to their families and our society,” said Governor Christie. “By repurposing Mid-State, we will have this first of its kind program in New Jersey that will help break the costly cycle of addiction, avoid recidivism, and help people reclaim their lives.”

With the success of the Christie Administration’s expanded Drug Court initiative, a significant number of non-violent, low-security offenders whose crime stemmed from their addiction have been diverted from serving time in correctional facilities.

Earlier last month, it was announced that Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment services at Mid-State and Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women will be provided by the Gateway Foundation, an organization with more than 40 years of experience in substance abuse treatment and counseling.  Gateway will offer a range of treatment individualized to the needs of each inmate, with a focus on providing treatment for offenders with substance use disorders involving alcohol and/or drugs.

Primarily medium custody inmates will be housed at the newly renovated Mid-State facility. Staff has begun returning to the 696-bed facility, which is expected to be fully operational by the end of April. Inmates with substance use disorders who do not participate in Mid-State’s SUD program or Edna Mahan’s equivalent SUD program may still participate in substance use psychoeducational programming that is offered at each facility.

Due to security concerns, maximum security inmates will not be eligible for this program. However, the Department of Corrections will continue to service this population through other therapeutic programs and supports such as AA/NA, Engaging the Family, Living in Balance and SMART Recovery. Furthermore, if these inmates achieve medium security status they will be evaluated for participation in the program.

Substance use disorder treatment will continue to be available to minimum custody offenders at Residential Community Release Programs.

Overall, the project has been funded at no increased cost to the taxpayers.  Even taking into account the costs associated with the Mid-State renovations, as well as the cost to house inmates who had been housed at Mid-State prior to its closure, the New Jersey Department of Corrections has saved about $20 million in operating costs.

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