RFL’s Dominic Carter gives a special report on how New Jersey has been reforming its parole system. Organizations like the non-profit Kintock Group in Newark have been helping to rehabilitate prisoners on parole. NJ reentry programs such as these have resulted in a recidivism rate less than half that of national average.
Kintock is one of eight residential treatment program for parolees that the New Jersey State Parole Board works with. The roughly 112 people in the program take courses on life skills, stress and anger reduction, gang intervention and there’s drug and alcohol treatment on site.
Kintock is pleased to announce that its Newark, New Jersey facility has successfully achieved PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) compliance.
The Newark programs were evaluated for compliance with applicable PREA standards for residential community confinement facilities and were found to be 100% in compliance. The audit, which was conducted by a Certified Department of Justice PREA Auditor, included a comprehensive review of facility records, a tour of the physical plant (facility), and interviews with a random sample of staff, contractors, volunteers and residents. The facility tour and interviews were conducted September 19th and 20th and the auditor’s final report was issued on October 15, 2018.
“I would like to commend our entire staff in Newark, each of whom played an important role in contributing to this achievement and in ensuring that our residents are safe,” said Nicola M. Cucinotta, Corporate Director of Quality Assurance. “I am proud of the staff’s dedication to the PREA process and their hard work and especially pleased that the auditor recognized our staff as extremely courteous, cooperative, and professional,” she added.
“The facility’s leadership is fully committed to eliminating sexual abuse/sexual harassment, as evidenced in the realistic staffing analysis and the recommendations for enhanced supervision techniques,” it was noted in the final PREA audit report, which is available on Kintock’s website.
Although the formal on-site part of the audit was conducted over two days, the process of obtaining PREA certification is much more involved, according to Ms. Cucinotta. As part of the pre-audit phase, PREA Audit Notices were posted in English and Spanish in the living units, at the main entrance, and in the visitation area for six weeks before the onsite audit. The auditor received no correspondence from residents or staff during that time.
Among the documentation that was reviewed by the auditor during the audit process was educational materials, training logs, posters, brochures, agency policies and procedures, forms, organizational charts, and other PREA related documentation.
During the site tour, the auditor reviewed PREA related documentation and materials located on bulletin boards and pertinent entries made in electronic logs. The auditor assessed camera surveillance, physical supervision, and electronic monitoring capabilities. Other areas of focus during the facility tour included, but were not limited to, levels of staff supervision.
“There is a well established zero-tolerance culture throughout [the facility] with documentation addressing all areas of PREA,” it was stated in the final audit report.
The report also noted that, “The Auditor found that the facility administration have a strong commitment to PREA and the zero-tolerance policy. Significant time and resources have been employed to ensure a sexually safe environment for the residents at Kintock Newark.” Further, “from the pre-audit phase to the completion of the on-site visit, the professionals caring for the residents have proven to be organized, efficient, and well-prepared,” the report stated.
Kintock’s Newark facility first achieved PREA compliance in September 2015. Facilities must undergo audit every three years to maintain PREA certification. Collectively, Kintock has participated in a total of five previous audits at all of its facilities and has achieved PREA compliance every time without the need for any corrective action.
“I am extremely proud that our Newark site has achieved PREA compliance. This reinforces our commitment to a corporate culture that embraces not only the standards of PREA, but the spirit of PREA, which is to ensure the safety of every single individual in our care” said Diane DeBarri, Chairman and CEO of Kintock.
Mandatory PREA training represents an essential component of Kintock’s committed to maintaining safe and secure facilities while upholding a zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse and sexual harassment in all forms within each of its facilities. Training ensures that all facility staff, residents, volunteers and contractors are proficient with the National PREA standards and language. Training educates employees on how to identify potential victims and perpetrators and teaches appropriate responses and reporting procedures.
“Staff appeared truly interested and vested with the residents and expressed a true desire to see the residents succeed,” it was noted in the final PREA report. Most important, the findings also affirmed that residents felt safe and cared for in the facility.
Kintock is extremely pleased to announce that its Bridgeton, New Jersey program successfully underwent re-accreditation during an audit by the American Correctional Association (ACA) and achieved an outstanding perfect score of 100 percent on both mandatory and non-mandatory applicable standards.
“The entire staff at Bridgeton always demonstrates incredible teamwork in everything they do, not just in preparing for the ACA audit, but throughout the year. They [staff] truly value the importance of the services we provide and are dedicated to ensuring the highest quality of life for our residents while also making sure to adhere to all company and ACA standards,” said Nicole Cucinotta, Corporate Compliance Officer.
The two-day audit took place in October 24th and 25th at the Bridgeton Residential Program and was conducted by two ACA auditors. The accreditation certificate will be awarded in January 2019 at the ACA Winter Conference.
The auditors noted that it is evident that Kintock staff makes security a priority at the Bridgeton facility and really cares about the safety of the residents, staff and greater community, according to Ms. Cucinotta.
The American Correctional Association and the Commission on Accreditation for Corrections are private, non-profit organizations that administer the only national accreditation program for all components of adult and juvenile corrections. Accreditation is achieved through a series of reviews, evaluations, surveys and audits conducted by qualified ACA auditors. Programs are required to undergo the audit process every three years to maintain ACA accreditation status.