Hunterdon Sheriff: Jail Consolidation With Warren County An Operational and Fiscal Success
The jail consolidation shared service between Hunterdon and Warren Counties has saved Hunterdon County over $800,000 since 2020 and continues to be a success, both operationally and financially, Hunterdon County Sheriff Fred W. Brown reported to the County Board of Commissioners, at the February 1st Board meeting.
Sheriff Brown reported, “The County has completed our second year in the jail consolidation shared service with Warren County, and I can report that Warren County’s corrections operation, led by Warden Ken McCarthy, has been exceptionally professional in dealing with our office, and his staff have been most cooperative during the transfer of inmates.”
Brown told the Commissioners, “Hunterdon County is averaging 30 inmates per day at the Warren facility, at a daily cost of $91.80. The cost of medical security has been reduced to $14,000 for 2021, down from a high of nearly $64,000 when the county participated in the shared service with Somerset County.
The operational savings since moving to a shared service with Warren County in February 2020 is over $800,000.”
Brown said, “Nearly all court proceedings presently are handled virtually between the Warren facility and the Justice Center here, including some bail hearings, which has reduced a significant piece of the travel factor for our corrections’ staff.”
The Sheriff reviewed the history of the jail consolidation shared service with the Commissioners, stating, “The then Freeholder Board approved a shared service for jail consolidation with Somerset County in 2016, with the goals of not only saving operational costs, but to also avoid the significant capital costs associated with maintaining the county’s correctional facility.
That program was successful in that it achieved both goals, as the County has avoided at least $5 million in capital costs that would have been needed to bring the county facility into compliance with regulations, and overall, there has been a total savings of $1.6 million in operating costs since implementation in 2016.”
Brown continued, “At the beginning of 2020, on my recommendation, the Board approved a change from Somerset County to Warren County for the jail consolidation shared service, as I believed that relationship would be better functionally and fiscally for the county, and it has been.
The service is well run, financially efficient, and all in all the program should be classified as a success.”
Board of Commissioners Director John E. Lanza said, “As a member of the Freeholder Board who supported consolidation at the time it was initiated, I can attest that there were skeptics, but the Sheriff has proven them wrong.
Hunterdon County enjoyed a good relationship with Somerset County and achieved cost savings. And now the County has a great relationship with Warren County and continues to save costs. A job well done by Sheriff Brown and his team.”