Essex County Jail Will Never Be Safe Until We Stop Profiting Off Black and Brown Bodies

Jim Price
Published: 12/23/2021

For ten years, advocates have been providing evidence to the Essex County Commissioners and the county administration that there were dangerously inhumane conditions in the jail. These deficiencies remained when the county depopulated the jail of people that the county was profiting from through the contract with ICE. The recent near fatal beating of Jayshawn Boyd as well as the stabbing death of Dan Gelin were tragically avoidable, but they are also evidence that the ICE contract was not the problem. The problem is that the county views the people in the jail as less than human.

We have said over and over- the county cannot reasonably expect to protect and care for people that it simultaneously exploits for revenue. Until that conflict is resolved the county cannot fully see the people that it incarcerates as human beings.

It is time to admit that the Essex County Correctional Facility Task Force that was set up to oversee the jail, is a failure. It is also time to admit that the 100% rating from the American Correctional Association is a sham. Terrible things will continue to happen as long as the county continues to commodify the bodies of people in the jail.

Topics: Civilian OversightCriminal Justice ReformEssex County CommissionersEssex County, NJICEJail Reform