Mercer County will enter into a two-year agreement with Hudson County for correctional center services that Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes states will save Mercer taxpayers $12 million annually while preserving the job of every Corrections officer.
Under the agreement approved by the Board of Chosen Freeholders on Oct. 22, Mercer County will pay Hudson County $11,169,000 per year for up to 300 inmates, plus a flat rate of $102 per inmate per day for any additional inmates above 300 in a calendar year. The agreement will take effect Jan. 1, 2020.
Hughes said that while the New Jersey Criminal Justice Reform Act has helped reduce the number of inmates and their length of stay, due to fixed costs the Mercer County Correction Center (MCCC) is seeing “skyrocketing” per-inmate costs.
“We believe that as our inmate population further declines, we can offer relief to our taxpayers by entering into an agreement with a County that has excess capacity at its correction center,” he said.
In addition to preserving officer jobs, the county is committed to aiding civilian employees secure re-employment through the Mercer County One-Stop.
Mercer County has been actively looking into taxpayer relief to be derived from a reexamination of its operation of the county correctional system, and retained the service of consultants NW Financial Group, Inc., to conduct an analysis of the MCCC so that Mercer could make informed decisions on options. NW Financial provided the County with a comprehensive report that recommended entering into a 2-year agreement with Hudson County. Among the key findings according to the County Executive’s office were:
- Saves Mercer County taxpayers $12 million annually
- All Mercer County non-superior Corrections Officers would be offered positions at Hudson County Correction Center
- All Mercer County Superior Officers would be retained in Mercer County
- Hudson’s visitation schedule offers greater flexibility for family visits compared to Mercer
- Mercer County guarantees the timely delivery of inmates for trial or to meet with their attorney
- Hudson offers superior health, wellness and substance abuse treatments unavailable at Mercer