This week, The New York Times published a hard-hitting series on New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and sketchy conditions at the state's halfway house system.
The 10-month investigation on Community Education Centers., Inc uncovered many incidents of violence, drug use, sexual assault and escapes from these facilities, which are designed to help transition jailed inmates back into the community. Christie's close friend and political adviser, William Palatucci, runs the halfway homes.
According to the report, roughly 5,100 people escaped these institutions since 2005. The piece also details the increase in funds given to these institutions under Christie while the number of beds under contract has gone down.
On Monday, the governor downplayed the report and called on the New Jersey Department of Corrections to make rounds of inspections. He wrote in a statement, "While many of the disturbing accounts reported in today's New York Times documenting lax oversight and accountability in some of New Jersey's halfway houses took place prior to this administration, we have an obligation to ensure the community placements program is effectively and safely operating today."
The timing couldn’t be worse, as the search is underway for Mitt Romney's running mate, and Christie's long been rumored to be on the shortlist.