The Shared Jail Consolidation Service between Hunterdon and Warren Counties has saved Hunterdon County more than $800,000 since 2020 and continues to be a success, according to Hunterdon County Sheriff Fred W. Brown.
“The County has completed its second year in Shared Prison Consolidation Service with Warren County, and I can report that the Warren County Correctional Operation, led by Superintendent Ken McCarthy, has been exceptionally professional in its relationship with our office, and its staff have been the most cooperative in transferring detainees,” Sheriff Brown told the Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners at its Tuesday, Feb. 1, meeting.
“Hunterdon County has an average of 30 inmates per day at Warren Institution, at a daily cost of $91.80. The cost of medical security has been reduced to $14,000 for 2021, from a peak of nearly $64,000 when the county participated in shared service with Somerset County. Operational savings since moving to shared service with Warren County in February 2020 is over $800,000. »
“Virtually all court proceedings are currently handled virtually between the Warren facility and the justice center here, including some bail hearings, which has reduced a significant portion of the travel factor for our corrections staff. “
“The then Freeholder Board approved a shared service for prison consolidation with the County of Somerset in 2016, with the aim of not only reducing operational costs, but also avoiding the significant capital costs associated with maintenance of the county correctional facility,” Brown told the commissioners.
Brown said the program was successful insofar as it achieved both goals, as the county avoided at least $5 million in capital costs that would have been required to bring the county’s facility into compliance with the regulations, and overall there was a total saving of $1.6. million in operating costs since implementation in 2016.
“In early 2020, on my recommendation, the board approved a change from Somerset County to Warren County for Shared Prison Consolidation Service, as I believed the relationship would be functionally and fiscally better for the county, and it was,” Brown said.
The sheriff said the service was well run, financially efficient and overall the program should be considered a success.
“As a member of the Freeholder Board who supported the consolidation when it was launched, I can attest that there were skeptics, but the sheriff proved them wrong,” said the director of the Board of Commissioners, John E. Lanza.
“Hunterdon County has had a good relationship with Somerset County and has achieved cost savings. And now the county has a great relationship with Warren County and continues to reduce costs.
A job well done by Sheriff Brown and his team,” Lanza concluded.