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Somerset County Inmates to be Housed in Morris County Correctional Facility Under New Agreement

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MORRIS COUNTY — Under the shared services agreement, Somerset County will pay Morris County $115 per day, representing a 10% to 15% reduction in housing an inmate at the Somerset County Jail. No jobs will be lost, as the number of corrections officers has already decreased by about 40 due to retirements and attrition over the past year.

The Morris County Board of County Commissioners has finalized a shared services agreement under which Somerset County corrections inmates will be lodged in the Morris County Correctional Facility for five years.

Somerset County Jail is located at 40 Grove Street, Somerville.

Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson stated, “The agreement with Morris County to provide jail services will deliver ongoing taxpayer savings while ensuring the needs of our detainees and the courts are met. I want to thank Sheriff Darrin Russo, my fellow Commissioners, and neighboring county officials for helping to reach this positive outcome for all involved.”

The Somerset County Jail will continue to operate on a limited basis to meet the needs of the courts and local law enforcement agencies by providing short-term housing for detainees scheduled for court hearings. Detainees serving sentences or held for longer periods will be housed at the Morris County Correctional Facility at 43 John Street in Morris Township. This $32 million facility, opened in May 2000, includes eight housing pods with 277 cells capable of housing 524 inmates. Morris County Correctional Facility is located less than a mile from Interstate 287’s interchange and is easily accessible.

Somerset County Commissioner Director Shanel Y. Robinson

Since August 4, 2023, all female incarcerated persons have been permanently transferred to the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center.  

New Jersey’s 2017 bail reform law, which prevents courts from granting or denying bail based on a defendant’s ability to pay, has significantly reduced county jail populations by decreasing the number of defendants incarcerated while awaiting trial. The pandemic further reduced jail populations. Over the past year, the average number of inmates held at Somerset County Jail has been 125 per day, about one-third of its capacity.

“We’ve worked hard over the past year to find a solution that supports the courts and our local police departments, protects public safety, and aids county staff impacted by the changes,” said Somerset County Sheriff Darrin Russo. “Because of reduced populations, county jails throughout the state are consolidating populations, and we are pleased to partner with Morris County to achieve this successful outcome.”

“Somerset County saw a need to change their operational approach to their correctional facility, and we saw an opportunity to assist them.  This triple net lease arrangement is aligned with a shared services approach and benefits the Morris County taxpayer,” said Morris County Sheriff James Gannon.

“It cuts operational expenses for Morris County while ensuring those in custody from Somerset County are well cared for. It gives access to pre-trial detainees and sentenced people of Somerset County to all our proven services like the Hope Wing, the Morris County Re-entry program, educational and vocational training, and other programs to reduce recidivism.  Our state-of-the-art facility, professional staff, and forward-thinking make this possible.  I am very proud that the Morris County Sheriff’s Office can support the needs of our communities and beyond while benefiting Morris County,” the sheriff added.

In 2021, Bergen and Passaic county officials formally agreed to transfer hundreds of inmates from the Passaic County Jail in Paterson to Bergen County’s facility in Hackensack. This move resulted in the emptying and future demolishing of the Marshall Street facility for the first time in its 66-year history.

The 10-year deal is valued at a minimum of $195 million. Under the shared services agreement, Passaic will pay Bergen approximately $104 per day for a minimum of 500 inmates. The contract allows Passaic to send up to 700 inmates, which could increase the deal’s value significantly. The per-day inmate rate will climb over the contract’s life, from $104 at the outset to $112 when it expires in 2031. 

Bergen County Jail is located at 160 South River Street, Hackensack. The jail employs 280 Correction Officers and has 1,150 beds. This around-the-clock operation is one of the state’s finest correctional facilities.

Morris County is in its fifth year of a shared services agreement with Sussex County and currently holds about 55 inmates from that neighboring county. Morris County’s correctional facility can hold 524 inmates, and the current facility population with inmates from all three counties is at about 304.4444

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Frank Cahill
Frank Cahillhttps://www.frankcahill.com
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since January 1, 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town, and Chairman of the Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board. Owner of the Morris now app serving small business in Morris County.
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