Fri, Jan. 16, 2009
Glouco to move juvenile inmates to
By Matt Katz
Inquirer Staff Writer
Gloucester County's juvenile detention center will close and inmates will
be moved to a Camden County facility, according to a shared-services
agreement announced yesterday.
Gloucester County will transfer its young detainees - the daily average is
10 - to a facility at the Lakeland complex in Gloucester Township, which
has 49 inmates.
Officials from each county heralded the savings. Gloucester County said it
would save an average of $1.7 million a year.
"We're not going to raise taxes, and we're going to do what we have to do
to not cut programs and keep services," Gloucester County Freeholder
Director Stephen M. Sweeney said.
Under the deal, Gloucester County will pay Camden County about $200 daily
for each detainee, but no more than $800,000 annually. It spends $2.5
million to run its facility in East Greenwich, according to County
Administrator Chad Bruner.
The agreement means about a dozen layoffs, Bruner said. Some of the 29
employees on the payroll will be transferred to the new facility or placed
in open positions elsewhere in Gloucester County government.
"There are families that are being impacted, and we do care, but
government cannot just be the payroll for the entire population," Sweeney
Gov. Corzine has advocated shared services to save money in tight fiscal
times, and yesterday he predicted more agreements.
"I think in the next several months you'll see real action with regard to
shared services," he said.
Officials said the Camden County facility was just two years old, with
better amenities and extra space for Gloucester County detainees. If there
is an overflow, Cumberland County has agreed to accept prisoners.
The mayor in Gloucester Township, Cindy Rau-Hatton, questioned how the
arrangement had come about.
"The police chief and I were not advised of this or part of any
discussion," said Rau-Hatton, a Republican in a Democrat-controlled
county. "Governmentally, absolutely we should have been. I thank The
Inquirer for letting me know."
She said she worried about placing additional criminally convicted
individuals in the township.
Camden County Freeholder Director Louis Cappelli called the plan a
"win-win" and dismissed concerns.
"It's such a minimal impact with these few children, there's nothing for
anybody in Gloucester Township to be alarmed about," he said.
The 560-acre Lakeland complex, which is largely county-owned, has been
proposed as a redevelopment site by county and local officials, and
Rau-Hatton wants the area to have tax-generating properties such as shops
Adding prisoners does not promote redevelopment, she said.
Cappelli said it would have "absolutely no impact" on redevelopment. "The
facility is already there. It's a safe facility," he said.
Last year, Rau-Hatton got into a scrap with county officials over Lakeland
when the freeholders announced a plan to cut overnight park police
coverage there. The plan was killed after the county's police chiefs said
it was an unfair burden to place on Gloucester Township police.
Contact staff writer Matt Katz at 856-779-3919 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inquirer staff writer Adrienne Lu contributed to this report.
Link to original article.