The South Jersey Times has reported that Salem County is currently contemplating an expansion to its correctional facility. The expansion will not only add additional space to a prison that has become too small to hold all of its inmates but could also bring in additional revenue to the county. Additional revenue and inmates will come from nearby Gloucester County who relies on Salem County to house some of its criminals. Current estimates suggest that Salem County is losing close to $10 million in revenue due to a surplus of criminals in its prison system.
The proposed expansion will transform the current complex in Salem from a building that holds 400 beds to one that will house 780. With Gloucester planning on sending over 175 new inmates and the federal government planning on sending up to 100 inmates to the prison the expansion seems to be a necessary addition to the system. The prison had previously been used to house federal inmates until budget restrictions forced them to find other arrangements for those inmates. Salem County Sheriff Charles Miller detailed that reduction in federal inmates in a statement to the media.
“At one point we had up to 150 federal inmates here. But at one point in 2013, our fed population started declining because of an early release program.”
With less prisoners and a decline revenue the Salem facility will have to choose between an expansion or maintain its’ current performance at the expense of tax payers and the county. If the expansion does get funding (which will cost around $29 million) it could, over the long term, turn into a profitable asset for the county. For each inmate Salem houses (from Gloucester and abroad) they will receive $83 per inmate, per day. The county has already received $8.1 million from neighboring Gloucester County.
Assuming the expansion receives funding it could serve as a very intriguing project for federal and local contractors. And the prison facility could continue to expand with interest increasing from Burlington and Cumberland counties though such an increase in size will likely not happen in the near future. If you have any further questions please feel free to contact us at 1-800-649-9094. We look forward to hearing from you!