Local jail could soon house hundreds more - NBC40.net

Local jail could soon house hundreds more

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Officials in both Cumberland and Gloucester County announce that they intend to close the Gloucester County Jail and move many of their inmates to Cumberland County.

In what some are calling a backroom agreement, Cumberland County would increase revenue, but some feel their safety is at risk.

"When you work in law enforcement and corrections everything is not a dollar amount," corrections officer and PBA President Darran Gavan said.

The agreement would save taxpayers in Gloucester County about $8 million. They would then pay Cumberland to take on their inmates.

"Because we have extra capacity and they are looking to remove themselves from the corrections business and there is a strong revenue potential for us, it helps us in a number of different ways," Director Freeholder William Whelan said.

For every 100 Gloucester county inmates kept behind the walls at the Bridgeton facility, Cumberland County tax payers could see a net revenue of about $2.5 million, which officials say is a big help as the county moves forward with a much thinner budget.

"This gives us an opportunity to generate revenue, without cutting services as drastically as we might have to or raising taxes as drastically as we might have to otherwise," Whelan said.

However, some on the other side are saying not so fast.

Not only would 87 officers in Glocerster County lose their job, but some feel inmates who are released are likely to stay in Cumberland County, straining the area's social services.

"There's a lot of problems that you are going to run into that's not based on a dollar. It's peoples safety and peoples health and families involved in this," Gavin said.

The vote is scheduled for Wednesday's freeholder meeting, but some Cumberland County freeholders say this topic needs to be researched further before a vote.

If the decision goes through, inmates would be moving in to Cumberland County as early as July 1.


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