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Federal Prison Handbook

Executive Order 124, NJ, COVID-19 Release, 2020

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EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 124
WHEREAS, on March 9, 2020, through Executive Order No. 103
(2020), the facts and circumstances of which are adopted by reference
herein, I declared both a Public Health Emergency and a State of
Emergency throughout the State due to the public health hazard created
by COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on April 7, 2020, I issued Executive Order No. 119
(2020), which declared that the Public Health Emergency declared in
Executive Order No. 103 (2020) continues to exist; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with N.J.S.A. App. A:9-34 and -51, I
reserved the right to utilize and employ all available resources of
State government to protect against the emergency created by COVID19; and
WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”)
has advised that COVID-19 spreads most frequently through person-toperson contact when individuals are within six feet or less of one
another, and as a result, the CDC has recommended that individuals
practice “social distancing” to prevent community spread of the virus;
and
WHEREAS, as COVID-19 continued to spread across New Jersey and
an

increasing

number

of

individuals

required

medical

care

or

hospitalization, I issued a series of Executive Orders pursuant to
my authority under the New Jersey Civilian Defense and Disaster
Control Act (the “Disaster Control Act”) and the Emergency Health
Powers Act (“EHPA”), to protect the public health, safety, and welfare
against the emergency created by COVID-19, including Executive Order
Nos. 104-123 (2020), the facts and circumstances of which are all
adopted by reference herein, many of which focused on requiring
increased social distancing in the State; and
WHEREAS, the CDC has called for “remaining out of congregate
settings,

avoiding

mass

gatherings,

and

maintaining

distance

(approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible”; and

 
 

2
 
 

WHEREAS, as both the Federal Government and other states have
recognized,

maintaining

typical

social

distancing

practices

in

correctional settings may be challenging; and
WHEREAS, there may be individuals currently in the custody of
the Department of Corrections (“DOC”), who are serving sentences of
more than 364 days, who by virtue of their age and/or underlying
medical conditions, face a heightened risk of death or serious injury
if they contract COVID-19; and
WHEREAS,

DOC

has

finite

capacity

within

its

facilities

to

provide medical care to inmates who contract COVID-19; and
WHEREAS,

because

there

are

challenges

associated

with

maintaining traditional social distancing in correctional settings,
in order to protect these particularly vulnerable individuals from a
heightened risk of death and serious injury, it may be necessary to
take certain emergency steps in order to temporarily remove these
individuals from congregate custody; and
WHEREAS, some of these individuals may be eligible for parole
and, due to the Public Health Emergency, warrant the quickest feasible
review

of

their

parole

applications

to

protect

their

health,

notwithstanding any Future Eligibility Date; and
WHEREAS, the parole process includes established safeguards to
ensure that granting parole will not undermine public safety, and
that the inmate, if released, will have access to appropriate medical
and social services; and
WHEREAS, even if an inmate is ineligible for parole or has not
received parole, the Commissioner of DOC (the “Commissioner”) has the
authority and discretion to issue furloughs under N.J.S.A. 30:4-91.3
for inmates, but the Commissioner may not grant furloughs for inmates
convicted of a crime pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:11-3, N.J.S.A. 2C:11-4,
N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2, N.J.S.A. 2C:15-1, N.J.S.A. 2C:13-1, or subsection
b. of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-1; and

 

 
 

3
 
 

WHEREAS, pursuant to the terms of N.J.S.A. 30:4-91.3, such
furloughs extend the limits of the place of confinement for inmates
as to whom there is reasonable cause to believe they will honor the
trust placed in them and return to the place of confinement at the
conclusion of the furlough period, and can include restricting an
inmate to home confinement; and
WHEREAS, the Commissioner may exercise his authority under
N.J.S.A. 30:4-91.3 for any compelling reason consistent with the
public interest, which necessarily includes emergency medical home
confinement designed to mitigate a high-risk inmate’s chance of
exposure to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, it would only be appropriate to grant an inmate such
emergency medical home confinement where such inmate does not present
a threat to public safety, including to a victim, especially at a
time when law enforcement agencies across the State are dedicating
time and resources to addressing the Public Health Emergency; and
WHEREAS, it would only be appropriate to grant an inmate such
emergency medical home confinement where doing so will indeed improve
the prospects for that inmate’s health and safety, which means that
such home confinement is only appropriate for an inmate if there is
an established plan in place to ensure the inmate has access to a
place of residence, and to social services and medical care as DOC
deems necessary; and
WHEREAS, given the scope and scale of the numbers of inmates who
may warrant emergency medical home confinement in light of the Public
Health Emergency, it will promote the public health, safety, and
welfare to constitute an Emergency Medical Review Committee (the
“Committee”)

to

more

efficiently

and

thoroughly

advise

the

Commissioner regarding which inmates should be temporarily placed in
home confinement to protect their health consistent with public
safety, and to allow that the Committee to call on DOC employees and

 

 
 

4
 
 
any

other

Executive

Branch

departments

and

agencies

to

provide

assistance in fulfilling that important mission; and
WHEREAS, for these reasons, among others, the strict enforcement
of certain statutory provisions that would inhibit the ability of DOC
and the State Parole Board to expeditiously review such parole
applications and to expeditiously temporarily place inmates in home
confinement to protect their health consistent with public safety is
detrimental to the public welfare; and
WHEREAS, even where an individual does not warrant parole or
emergency medical home confinement, DOC has available tools to reduce
the threat to inmates posted by COVID-19; and
WHEREAS,
New Jersey,

the

Constitution

particularly

et seq., N.J.S.A. App.

and

the

A:

statutes

provisions

9-33

et

of

the

State

of

of N.J.S.A. 26:13-1

seq., N.J.S.A. 38A:3-6.1,

and N.J.S.A. 38A:2-4 and all amendments and supplements thereto,
confer upon the Governor of the State of New Jersey certain emergency
powers, which I have invoked;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, PHILIP D. MURPHY, Governor of the State of
New

Jersey,

by

virtue

of

the

authority

vested

in

me

by

the

Constitution and by the Statutes of this State, do hereby ORDER and
DIRECT:
1.

DOC shall expeditiously identify inmates for referral to

the State Parole Board and the Committee described in Paragraph 5 of
this Order as follows:
a.

DOC shall generate a list of inmates who are both 60
years

or

older

and

possess

underlying

medical

conditions that increase the risk of death or serious
injury from COVID-19 (the “First Emergency Medical
Referral List”);
b.

DOC shall generate a list of remaining inmates who
are either 60 years or older or possess underlying
medical conditions that increase the risk of death or

 

 
 

5
 
 

serious injury from COVID-19 (the “Second Emergency
Medical Referral List”);
c.

DOC shall generate a list of inmates who were denied
parole in the past year and who do not already appear
on the First or Second Emergency Medical Referral
List (the “Third Emergency Medical Referral List”);

d.

DOC shall generate a list of inmates who are serving
a prison sentence with either a maximum release date
within 90 days of the date the list is generated, or
a parole eligibility date within 90 days of the date
the list is generated, and who do not already appear
on the First, Second, or Third Emergency Medical
Referral List (the “Fourth Emergency Medical Referral
List”); and

e.

After the Fourth Emergency Medical Referral List is
generated, and on a periodic basis of at least once
a

week,

DOC

shall

submit

Supplemental

Emergency

Medical Referral Lists that include any additional
inmates

that

DOC

subsequently

concludes

face

a

heightened risk of death or serious injury from COVID19

based

on

their

age

and/or

underlying

medical

conditions.
2.

In preparing the lists described in Paragraph 1 of this

Order (the “Emergency Medical Referral Lists”), DOC shall:
a.

Consult with the Department of Health to determine
which underlying medical conditions heighten the risk
of death or serious injury associated with COVID-19;

b.

Only

include

inmates

on

the

Emergency

Medical

Referral Lists who are not prohibited by N.J.S.A.
30:4-91.3b from participating in a furlough program
administered by DOC and who are not currently serving

 

 
 

6
 
 

a sentence for an offense subject to the provisions
of the No Early Release Act, N.J.S.A. 2C:43-7.2; and
c.

Indicate, for each inmate on an Emergency Medical
Referral List, the prosecuting agency and whether the
inmate is currently eligible for parole.

3.

Upon completion of each Emergency Medical Referral List,

DOC shall immediately produce the list to the Director of the Division
of Criminal Justice and to the County Prosecutors, who shall within
five days take the following actions with regards to any inmates
prosecuted by their agency:
a.

Notify the victim or next of kin about the possibility
of the inmate’s parole or emergency medical home
confinement; and

b.

Submit to the Parole Board and the Committee described
in

Paragraph

5

of

this

Order

the

views

of

the

prosecuting agency and, if applicable, the victim or
next of kin, regarding the possibility of the inmate’s
parole or emergency medical home confinement.
4.

Upon completion of each Emergency Medical Referral List,

DOC shall immediately produce to the State Parole Board the names of
any parole-eligible inmates who appear on the list and promptly notify
those inmates of such action.

Upon receipt of the names, the State

Parole Board shall expedite consideration of those inmates for parole.
The State Parole Board may conduct hearings telephonically or by
videoconference for any individuals on any Emergency Medical Referral
List, for the purpose of expediting review and avoiding person-toperson contact. The State Parole Board shall prioritize consideration
of parole-eligible inmates who appear on the First Emergency Medical
Referral List; followed by inmates who appear on the Second Emergency
Medical Referral List; followed by inmates who appear on the Third
Emergency Medical Referral List; followed by inmates who appear on
the Fourth Emergency Medical Referral List and any Supplemental

 

 
 

7
 
 
Emergency Medical Referral List; and it shall consider inmates for

parole regardless of whether the State Parole Board previously denied
parole or issued a Future Eligibility Term.

To the degree that they

are inconsistent with this Order, the provisions of N.J.S.A. 30:4123.48g; N.J.S.A. 30:4-123.53a(d); N.J.A.C. 10A:71-3.14e-f; N.J.A.C.
10A:71–3.7a-d, f; and N.J.A.C. 10A:71-3.9c are suspended for the
duration of this Public Health Emergency.

Any provisions of these

statutes and regulations that are not inconsistent with this Order
remain in full force and effect.
5.

There is hereby established an Emergency Medical Review

Committee, which shall be jointly chaired by a designee of the DOC
Commissioner and a designee of the Chairman of the State Parole Board.
All members shall serve at the pleasure of the appointing department
and without compensation.
Referral

List,

Committee.

DOC

shall

Upon completion of each Emergency Medical
immediately

produce

the

list

to

the

Within seven days of receiving any Emergency Medical

Referral List, the Committee shall prepare a recommendation regarding
each

inmate

on

the

list

as

to

whether

the

Commissioner

should

authorize a period of emergency medical temporary home confinement
pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4-91.3, which shall include:
a.

Describing the views of the prosecuting agency and,
if applicable, the victim or next of kin;

b.

Identifying a community sponsor for the inmate;

c.

Developing a proposed supervision plan, including,
where appropriate, the use of telephonic check-ins
and electronic monitoring devices;

d.

Proposing any conditions on the inmate’s temporary
home confinement, including the scope of the inmate’s
restrictions on travel outside the home;

 

 
 

8
 
 

e.

Verifying the availability of appropriate medical and
social services sufficient to address the heightened
risk of death or serious injury if exposed to COVID19;

f.

Verifying the availability of appropriate housing,
which may include, but need not be limited to, a
hospital or other housing accommodation suitable to
the

inmate’s

medical

condition,

which

shall

be

located in the State of New Jersey;
g.

Verifying that DOC has produced or will produce photo
identification for the inmate prior to the inmate’s
transfer to temporary home confinement; and

h.

Verifying that the conditions under which the inmate
would be placed in temporary home confinement would
present a lower risk of contracting COVID-19 than the
inmate would face if housed in a DOC facility.

6.

When

preparing

recommendations,

the

Committee

is

authorized to call upon any department, office, division or agency
of this State to supply it with data and any other information or
assistance available to such agency as the Committee deems necessary
to execute its duties under this Order.

Each department, office,

division or agency of this State is hereby required, to the extent
not inconsistent with law, to cooperate fully with the Committee
within the limits of its statutory authority and to furnish it with
such assistance on as timely a basis as is necessary to accomplish
the purpose of this Order.
7.

When

preparing

recommendations,

the

Committee

is

authorized to call upon, and should consult with, medical experts,
the

Department

of

Human

Services,

county

social

service

organizations, and non-profit organizations to identify resources
that

would

ensure

the

health

and

emergency medical home confinement.

 

safety

of

inmates

serving

in

 
 

9
 
 

8.

Within three days of receiving a recommendation from the

Committee, the Commissioner shall decide whether to grant an emergency
medical home confinement pursuant to his authority under N.J.S.A.
30:4-91.3.

The Commissioner shall not authorize temporary home

confinement for an inmate unless the Commissioner is satisfied that
the proposed conditions of confinement appropriately safeguard the
health and safety of the inmate, the general public, and any victims
of the inmate’s offense.
9.

Prior to releasing an inmate on parole or transferring an

inmate to temporary home confinement, DOC shall:
a.

Issue the inmate a temporary photo identification
card, which shall include at a minimum the inmate’s
name,

date

of

birth,

and

State

Bureau

of

Identification (SBI) number;
b.

Assist

an

eligible

inmate

in

completing

and

submitting applications to the relevant county board
of

social

service

Supplemental

for

Nutrition

benefits

through

the

Assistance

Program

and

completing

and

WorkFirst NJ program; and
c.

Assist

an

submitting

eligible
an

inmate

application

in

for

Medicaid

to

the

Department of Human Services, and provide the inmate
with a copy of the completed application.
10.

For all inmates who do not receive parole or an emergency

medical home confinement, DOC shall take all appropriate actions to
mitigate inmates’ health risks while remaining in DOC’s custody.
11.

For purposes of this Order, “Executive Branch departments

and agencies” shall mean any of the principal departments in the
Executive Branch of State government and any agency, authority, board,
bureau,

commission,

division,

institution,

office,

or

other

instrumentality within or created by any such department, and any
independent State authority, commission, instrumentality, or agency

 

 
 

10
 
 
over which the Governor exercises executive authority, as determined

by the Attorney General.
12.

This Order shall take effect immediately and shall remain

in effect until revoked or modified by the Governor, who shall consult
with the Commissioner of DOH as appropriate.
GIVEN,

[seal]

under my hand and seal this
10th day of April,
Two Thousand and Twenty, and of
the Independence of the United
States, the Two Hundred and
Forty-Fourth.

/s/ Philip D. Murphy
Governor

Attest:
/s/ Matthew J. Platkin
Chief Counsel to the Governor

 

 

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