July 21, 2010
ANTHONY BOONE, APPELLANT,
NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, RESPONDENT.
On appeal from the Final Determination of the Department of Corrections.
NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION
Submitted June 22, 2010
Before Judges Carchman and Parrillo.
Appellant Anthony Boone, an inmate incarcerated at East Jersey State Prison (EJSP), appeals from a staff decision of the Department of Corrections (DOC) upholding agency policy, embodied in regulation N.J.A.C. 10A:18-2.3, preventing inmates from receiving postage stamps from outside sources. We remand the matter to the DOC for further consideration.
On January 24, 2009, Boone submitted an Inmate Remedy System (IRS) form, complaining that the policy banning receipt of postage stamps from outside sources is illegal as violative of the Administrative Code and the New Jersey Administrative Procedure Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 to -15. The agency staff response, dated February 3, 2009, indicated that the policy regarding postage stamps was set forth in the Administrative Code, which had been amended on May 2, 2008, to specify that: "Postage stamps must be purchased from the correctional facility commissary. No other method of acquiring postage stamps is permitted." N.J.A.C. 10A:18-2.3(b). The IRS form submitted by Boone on this appeal indicates that on February 6, 2009, he filed an administrative appeal, arguing that the agency misquoted the regulation and changed it in violation of both the Act and inmates' rights of access to the courts and their families. The State, however, represents that there is no record that Boone's appeal was ever submitted to the administration at EJSP and indeed the record is barren of any final agency decision.
It is well settled that appeals to this court are taken from final state administrative agency decisions. R. 2:2- 3(a)(2); Shim v. Rutgers, 191 N.J. 374, 383 n.4 (2007). Thus, actions of state administrative agencies that are not final are not eligible for appeal. Here, on appeal, although appellant renews his challenges to N.J.A.C. 10A:18-2.3 as arbitrary agency rulemaking in violation of the Act and his constitutional rights, there is no final agency order or judgment for our review. Given the particular need for record-making and agency conclusions of law, we decline to address the merits of the dispute improvidently brought before us. Rather, we remand to the DOC with direction to treat appellant's proffered submission of February 6, 2009, as his administrative appeal and thereafter to finally adjudicate the issues raised therein.
This matter is remanded in accordance with this opinion. We do not retain jurisdiction.
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