By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
BRIDGETON, N.J. — New Jersey’s Supreme Court will hear a case regarding the closing of Cumberland County Jail and the transfer of inmates to surrounding prisons in the region, according to a report from the Vineland Daily Journal.
On August 12, New Jersey’s highest court said it would see an appeals court decision that ruled in favor of Cumberland County, which hopes to close the prison and have inmates transferred to other prisons in South Jersey. The county initially detailed its plans to close the prison last August. Originally, the county wanted all inmates transferred to Atlantic and Salem County prisons by the end of 2020, but that obviously hasn’t come to fruition yet. Atlantic and Salem counties are both defendants in the court case that’ll be heard by the state’s Supreme Court, as both have agreed to inmate transfer deals with Cumberland County.
County officials said the decision to close the county jail and rebuild it as a temporary holding facility would save $8-10 million in the first year and then millions more after that.
In the July 30 court ruling in favor of Cumberland County, one key finding noted that the county isn’t required by state law to operate its own jail. Cumberland County is exempt from running its own prison because of its relatively smaller size and “third-class status,” according to the trial judge.
The plaintiffs in the case include New Jersey’s Office of the Public Defender and two inmates. The Supreme Court will continue restricting most inmate transfers from Cumberland County Jail until it makes a ruling on the matter.
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