Union County, NJ – The Union County Board of County Commissioners is pleased to announce that the County will share in a $250,000 state grant to assist in covering transitional costs related to the consolidation of Union County Correctional Facility operations with Essex County. The consolidation of permanent inmate housing with Essex County is expected to save Union County approximately $103 million over the next five years.
“This award recognizes the significant savings to Union County that will be provided by the consolidation of operations with Essex County, and I would like to thank all those who worked to make the transition progress smoothly and on schedule,” said Union County Commissioner Board Chairman Alexander Mirabella.
The Division of Local Government Services (DLGS) of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) provided the funding through a Local Efficiency Achievement Program (LEAP) Implementation Grant.
“I commend both Union and Essex Counties on implementing this record-breaking cost saving agreement in New Jersey. It is a perfect example of what can be accomplished with shared services when counties come together to achieve greater efficiencies,” said Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver, Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs. “The substantial cost savings realized by the consolidation of correctional services will help alleviate the property tax burden on Essex and Union County residents and businesses.”
“LEAP grants are proving to be a powerful tool by giving local government entities the leverage they need to move shared service agreements forward,” said DLGS Director Jacquelyn Suárez. “And I’m excited to learn that this Implementation Grant has produced the most substantial cost-savings through a shared services agreement in New Jersey to date.”
“For the past three years we have been working with the Murphy Administration on a bi-partisan basis (former Mayor of Harding Township Nicolas Platt is a Republican and former Mayor of Summit Jordan Glatt is a Democrat) to move shared models of governance forward with local leaders to help them defray costs. This county correctional facility consolidation will result in enormous taxpayer savings and is a big win for Union and Essex Counties,” said the two New Jersey Shared Services Czars.
The consolidation reflects broad trends in criminal justice. The number of incarcerated persons in the Union County Correctional Facility fell 67% over the past ten years, from more than 1,000 prisoners to approximately 345 at the beginning of 2021. As a result, detention costs per inmate more than doubled during the same time period.
Part of the Union County Correctional Facility remains in operation as an intake hub and temporary detention facility. Union County will use its portion of the LEAP Implementation Grant to purchase a body imaging scanner for the hub facility.
The five-year memorandum of agreement the County of Union has approved with Essex County to provide jail services has an option for renewal. In addition, the Union County Department of Corrections will become a division of the Union County Sheriff’s Office.
The agreement with Essex County is part of the Commissioner Board’s ongoing efforts to respond to significant changes in the criminal justice system, resulting in a more effective use of public funds. In 2019, Union County also closed its Juvenile Detention Center, saving $24.6 million a year, sending its detainees to the Essex County Juvenile Detention Center in Newark.
For information and updates on all Union County services during the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Union County COVID-19 Test Center at Kean University, the Mobile Test Unit, vaccination information, emergency food distribution and other support services, visit ucnj.org/covid19. General information about COVID-19 is available through the New Jersey Department of Health at nj.gov/health.
For all Union County programs and services visit ucnj.org, call the Public Info Line, 877-424-1234, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the online Contact Form.
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