Public Info

Union County Hires New Jail Director with 29 Years of Public and Private Experience

New Jersey native Ronald L. Charles served as Associate Director of the Essex County Department of Corrections and as Facility Administrator at Delaney Hall

correctionsRonald L. Charles, a New Jersey native who has extensive experience in managing both public and private correctional facilities in the state, has been hired as the new Director of the Union County Department of Corrections, County officials announced.

Charles is a former Associate Director of the Essex County Department of Corrections, the state’s largest County correctional facility, and has also served in senior level executive positions at Delaney Hall, a private facility.

Charles was hired following a nationwide search conducted by the County following the retirement of former director Brian Riordan, who left in July after seven successful years. During the interim period, Assistant Director George Blaskiewicz had served as acting director.

The County received well over 50 resumes during the job search, and narrowed the list to nearly a dozen finalists before selecting Charles.

“Ronald Charles has an outstanding record of public and private-level experience in corrections,” said County Manager Alfred J. Faella. “He has managed the administrative and fiscal operations of two major correctional facilities, and had his boots on the ground as a corrections officer for many years as well. We look forward to working with him.”

Charles is earning a salary of  $115,000 a year, and started his new job yesterday, following his hiring by the County Manager. He is responsible for the supervision of a total staff of approximately 295 corrections officers and supervisors, 34 civilian employees, and a census count of approximately 720 prisoners, with another 40 under contract at Delaney Hall in Essex County.

Charles will work to continue many of the reforms begun under way at the facility. During the past eight years, the County has focused on reducing its daily census count (number of inmates) at the jail by nearly 30 percent, resulting in operational efficiencies.

The County implemented the findings from the Luminosity study, which has succeeded in reducing operational costs and expenses at the adult facility (Union County Jail) by $1 million.

This report continues to reap benefits by bringing together stakeholders in an effort to reduce unnecessary detention while maintaining public safety and the integrity of the courts process.

Charles said he looks forward to starting his job, and thanked the Freeholder Board and the County Manager for the opportunity to lead the Department of Corrections.

“There is still much to accomplish and there are many challenges before us, but I look forward to working with the County team in providing a safe, secure, productive and efficient facility,” Charles said. 

During a 29-year career in corrections, Charles, who started as an Essex County Corrections Officer,  rose through the ranks meritoriously  to Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain,  Associate Warden  and climbed to the position of Associate Director of the Department in 2006, where until his retirement in 2011, he was responsible  the supervision of more than 700 employees with a operating budget of over $100 Million dollars.  Among his other duties, he authored RFP’s (Requests for Proposal) and contracts, and wrote a financial review process for the budget with department heads and administrative officials.

In 2011, he began work for Delaney Hall Detention Center, a private run facility that contracts with governmental agencies such as Union County and Essex County for its detainees. Over the next four years, he served as a Facility Administrator and then a Facility Training Administrator whose responsibilities included managing the budget, supervising staff, establishing operational plans, and developing lesson plans and learning objectives for professional and leadership  development. 

Charles is a Certified Public Manager (CPM) and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice.  He is  a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government  Leadership Program and  is a certified instructor with the New Jersey  Department of  Law and Public Safety Police Training Commission and is a certified auditor with the American Correctional Association.