Freeholders in 2 Counties Approve Jail Merger
Officials in Cumberland and Gloucester Counties have agreed to merge their jail systems despite protests from corrections officers.
The freeholder boards in both counties approved the plan at meetings Wednesday night.
Gloucester will pay Cumberland County $2.5 million annually for every 100 inmates transferred. Gloucester County officials say they will save $10 million per year by the third year of the agreement.
Gloucester County expects to reduce the size of its jail staff, possibly by layoffs. Remaining Gloucester County guards will be in charge of transporting prisoners when the deal takes effect on July 1.
Corrections officers and some Cumberland County residents protested, saying a merger would raise safety concerns. The families of over 100 Gloucestser County employees turned out to the meeting concerned about the elimination of 124 jobs in the merger.
“You guys are basically saying to us, ‘You’ve earned your stripes, you did your time, don’t let the door hit you on the way out,’” corrections officer Sgt. Jim Fare told the board prior to the vote according to WCAU TV. “Because you don’t care!”
Freeholder Director Robert Damminger answered that while he doesn't want to hurt any families financially, the merger will benefit 280,000 taxpayers in Gloucester County.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.