Parole Conditions (Part 3)

by | Mar 22, 2024 | Blog, Criminal Law, Monmouth County, New Jersey, Ocean County

Justice Faciale continued in relevant part: The Parole Board and Appellate Division concluded that the language “include, among other things,” in (b)(1)(a) should be read expansively to authorize the requirement that Williams reside at the RTP. In J.K. v. State Parole Board, the Court interpreted “include, among other things” to be terms of enlargement. 247 N.J. 120, 131-32 (2021). But that enlargement cannot be understood as infinite in scope.

When specific words follow more general words in a statutory enumeration, courts can consider what additional items might also be included by asking whether those items are like those enumerated. An RTP is not like the class of specific conditions expressed in (b)(1)(a). In an RTP, one’s liberty is significantly more curtailed than being unable to access certain internet websites, being prohibited from having contact with a specific person, or being barred from possessing an animal. And N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.59(d) authorizes the imposition of an RTP as a parole condition “if the inmate would not otherwise be released pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4 123.53 without such placement.”

Reading the statutes together, to impose an RTP for inmates who are ineligible under the EYWO Act, the Parole Board would generally have to show: (1) under N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.53(a), that “there is a reasonable expectation that the inmate will violate conditions of parole” pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.59; (2) under N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.59(b)(1)(a), that an RTP is “deemed reasonable in order to reduce the likelihood of recurrence of criminal or delinquent behavior”; and (3) under N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.59(d), that “the inmate would not otherwise be released under N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.53 without such placement.” If N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.59(d) was “inapplicable” and “irrelevant,” as suggested by the Parole Board, then it would be easier to impose mandatory “terms” of residential treatment on low-level offenders who qualify for automatic release under the EYWO Act than it is for the Parole Board to impose the same residence “terms” for adult inmates convicted of more serious offenses who are not eligible for administrative parole. That would be illogical.

It is true that the Legislature expressed concern about recidivism and recognized a need to facilitate reentry in enacting the EYWO Act. See, e.g., N.J.S.A. 30:1B 6.10(a). At the same time, however, the Legislature expressly contemplated that residential treatment could be completed during incarceration. Upon completion of the programming and satisfaction of the additional requirements set forth in N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.55d, the EYWO Act contemplates that adult inmates earn their way out — subject, of course, to sanctions for violation of parole conditions. And the Legislature has not granted leave to impose an RTP on those inmates who successfully earned their way out through that Act. Williams has fully satisfied and complied with the legislatively imposed process for his release, and his continued outpatient rehabilitation can be and has been prescribed by the Board. But the Board’s prescriptions must remain within the limits imposed by the Legislature, which do not include an RTP. It is now time for Williams’ “successful integration as a productive, law-abiding citizen.”

Predictably, the Parole Board was seeking to keep the parolee in a residential treatment facility for as long as possible. Doing so could subject the parolee to a separate criminal charge of escape if he were to leave the facility without the facility’s permission.