What is the Intensive Supervision Program?
The Intensive Supervision Program (ISP) is a choice that certain state prison inmates are allowed to work their way back into the community under intensive supervision. To be allowed into the program, you must show that you can follow the program's strict rules. Inmates must present a plan that their return to the community will result in a positive social adjustment and will not jeopardize public’s safety.
By no means is ISP a "slap on the wrist." It is "intense." For that reason, this program is not suited for everyone serving a prison term, and success is not a sure thing. But for those who do succeed, the program can be a life altering experience.
Features of the New Jersey Intensive Supervision Program:
- Regular contact with your ISP officer
- A plan for life in the community
- Drug testing
- Employment, schooling, or job training
- Community service
- Firm curfew rules
- Drug, alcohol and mental health treatment. See the list of agencies that can provide these services.
- Required payments towards court fines, fees and other financial duties
Crimes Not Eligible
Entry to ISP is not a given. All persons sentenced to state prison are allowed to apply, except for those convicted of certain crimes. See the complete list of crimes that are not eligible.
Applying to ISP
Applications are available online at all county jails, and at all state prisons. Answer all of the questions, including who will be your community sponsor. If you do not have answers to all of the questions, submit the application with as much information as you have.
Before you enter ISP, you will be need to write a plan explaining what you are going to do to help you avoid getting into trouble in the future. What you put in your plan is important. The people who review your application will look at it carefully. You should be able to do the things that you say you can do.
An ISP officer will also interview you at the state prison as part of your application. During the interview, the ISP officer will review your plan with you and ask questions to help find out whether the plan can be reached.
ISP Screening Board/ISP Judicial Panel
The ISP Screening Board made up of a person from the community, corrections staff and an ISP employee, will review your application and conduct an interview. If the Screening Board concludes that you are right for the ISP Program, a panel of ISP judges will review your application. The judges make the final decision. If your application is accepted by the judges, you will be released from prison into the program.
Admission to ISP
If you are admitted into the program, you will be released from prison into ISP. It is up to you to follow the rules to stay in the program. You will have to live up to all of the parts in your plan. Your community sponsor and your ISP officer will help you, but you must make sure you do what you agreed to do.
Rules of ISP
- Get a job within 30 days of acceptance into ISP;
- Obey a 6 p.m. curfew;
- Support your children and meet your family needs;
- Take part in treatment programs;
- Do not leave New Jersey without permission from your ISP officer;
- Do not own or carry any type of weapon;
- Allow your ISP officer to visit your home and search you, or places or your things;
- Do not use drugs or alcohol, and agree to drug and alcohol testing;
- Pay all fines , fees and restitution ordered by the court; and
- Tell your employer that you are on ISP within 30 days of getting a job.
Length of the program
If you are admitted into ISP, you can expect to be in the program for a minimum of 12 months. If your original sentence was for more than five years, or if you break any program rules, you may be in the program longer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Can I fill out an application for ISP for my spouse, boyfriend, or relative?
Yes. However, if they are unable to sign the application, they should follow up with a letter confirming their desire to apply to ISP.
Q. My offense is a 2nd degree offense. Am I still eligible to apply to ISP?
Yes. Anyone interested in the ISP Program can apply for admission. However, if the prosecutor objects, you must serve at least six months of your sentence and be within nine months of your earliest parole eligibility date to be considered for ISP admission.
Q. Can I re-apply for ISP for a new offense after previously completing ISP?
Yes. If you have previously completed ISP, you can re-apply to the program. However, there is no guarantee you will be accepted.
Q. Are there offenses or circumstances that would make me ineligible for ISP?
Yes. The following offenses and circumstances make you ineligible for the ISP program:
• criminal homicide
• certain sexual offenses*
• bribery and corrupt influence (including conspiracy or attempt)
• misconduct in office/abuse in office (including conspiracy or attempt)
• immigration detainer
• not a resident of New Jersey
• not a state inmate
• certain drug court violations*
• organized crime*
• current or past conviction for a first-degree crime
• certain weapons offenses*
• other good cause as found by the ISP Judicial Panel or ISP Program
*Note: Not all sexual offenses, drug court violations, organized crime offenses and weapons offenses are excluded from eligibility. If you have been convicted of one of those offenses and are interested in ISP, you should apply.
Q. Do I need a place to live in order to apply for ISP?
While specified housing is preferable, we do place applicants in shelters or halfway houses according to availability of space.
Q. Do I need a sponsor to get into ISP?
Having a sponsor is a crucial part of the case plan and most participants do have sponsors. However, even if you do not have a sponsor, you can still be eligible for ISP consideration.
Q. Must I live in New Jersey to apply for ISP?
You must live in New Jersey to participate in the ISP program.
Q. Do I need attorney representation for ISP?
Normally, applicants are represented by a private attorney or a public defender (PD) if they qualify. At the interview, you will be asked if you are applying for PD representation and will fill out a form for that purpose. In rare cases, the Resentencing Panel allows the applicant to represent themselves; however, this approach is not recommended.
Q. Can I reside with a convicted felon if I apply for ISP?
This would depend on a number of factors and would have to be reviewed and approved by the ISP Program and the ISP Resentencing Panel of judges.
Q. How long will I be under supervision in ISP?
If your sentence is five years or less, you must be under ISP supervision for a minimum of 12 months. However, the actual number of months served and your successful discharge from ISP depends on your performance under supervision. You cannot be on supervision for less than one year or longer than five years minus the time served in prison.
Q. How long is the application process for ISP?
The entire process from application to an appearance before ISP judges takes approximately four to six weeks
Q. What is the Cost of Supervision Fee for ISP?
The cost of supervision will be determined and ordered at the time of acceptance into ISP.
Q. Does successful completion of ISP erase my record?
No. Successful completion of ISP does not automatically erase a participant’s criminal record. There is a separate process to apply for an expungement of criminal records.
Q. Can I apply for ISP if I have a period of parole ineligibility (otherwise known as stipulation or “stip”)?
You can apply. However, a court date will not be scheduled until after the period of parole ineligibility (“stip”) has expired.