Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblyman Greg McGuckin of the 10th Legislative District have introduced legislation, S-2697/A-4095, which would require civilly committed sexually violent predators to be paid the same rate as state inmates for work performed while in custody to provide savings for taxpayers.
Violent sexual offenders who are civilly committed are housed in the Special Treatment Unit of the Adult Diagnostic & Treatment Center in Avenel. (Google Maps)
“Inmates confined in New Jersey prisons are paid substantially less than minimum wage for work they perform,” said Holzapfel. “The reduced rate we pay to inmates reflects the belief that the work they perform offsets the cost to taxpayers for their confinement. The same should be true for violent sexual predators who remain in state custody.”
Convicted sexual predators who would pose a danger to the public if released following the completion of their prison terms may be civilly committed to allow for further treatment and to prevent the threat they would pose to the public.
Civilly committed violent sexual offenders are housed in the Special Treatment Unit of the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center (ADTC) in Avenel.
A report issued by the State Auditor, Stephen Eells, notes that inmates in state prisons are compensated for work at a rate of $1.25 to $5 per day, earning an average of $2.33 per day. In contrast, civilly committed sexually violent offenders at the ADTC are paid the state minimum wage, currently $8.38 per hour, for work they perform while in custody.
The Auditor recommended eliminating that discrepancy by reducing the wage rate for those civilly committed to the ADTC to achieve a savings for taxpayers of nearly $2 million annually.
“It costs taxpayers nearly $60,000 per year to house civilly committed violent sexual predators in Avenel,” added McGuckin. “To keep these dangerous offenders off the streets, it’s well worth the money. The State Auditor’s recommendations would yield a savings of $2 million on the total cost of running the ADTC, something we must consider enacting in the interest of law abiding taxpayers.”