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Jail Continues to be a Problem for Everyone, Especially the Freeholders.

January 17, 2010

Camden Mayor Redd

Our County Freeholders, who are desperately trying to balance an overstuffed budget without cutting a single patronage job, are struggling with the cost and fallout associated with the county jail system.  With major litigation in federal court ongoing,  significant issues remain unresolved and our Freeholders refuse to provide any leadership.

We previously pointed out that Camden City’s new Mayor, Dana Redd, does not want the new jail inside the city limits and certainly not at the Mt. Ephraim location.  I’m sure the Mayor will declare victory in that the County Freeholders have ruled out the Mt. Ephraim site for a private jail.

However, the Camden County Freeholders have maintained the jail should remain in the City of Camden.  Remember, earlier this month, Freeholder Louis Cappelli told the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“I’m not so sure if anybody would be successful finding a location outside of the city.”

Newly elected Camden Mayor, Dana Redd is on record saying she is,

adamantly opposed to putting the jail on Mount Ephraim Avenue, … and would “prefer not to have it in Camden”

In a rare Saturday press release the County Freeholders told us the new jail will be built on the footprint of the existing prison.  Actually,  the Freeholders intend to build a maximum-security detention center and a drug treatment and training center on that same foot print.  While Dana Redd cannot  be happy, her Democrat colleague Jim Maley is thrilled that the jail will not be located on Mt. Ephraim Avenue.  The Democrat Mayor of Collingswood said,

“We’re pleased with that, and we hope that where the location is, that it works for the neighborhoods in Camden County,”

Oddly, Maley offers no suggestion as to where the jail should or could be located.  It seems strange that the outspoken Maley can only offer “not in my back yard”.  Redd is saying th e same thing too.  Surely the freeholders have some insight as to which Mayor wants the new jail and substance rehabilitation center located in their town.   According to Joyce Gabriel, a spokeswoman for the freeholders,

“We’re not going to agree to any location where there’s pushback from the community saying, ‘We don’t want it,'”

Clearly many significant issues remain unresolved.  Do the Freeholders think there is no pushback from the residents of Camden? Will they be able to build both buildings where the prison now exists?   Obviously not.  However, do not expect Freeholder Ed McDonnell, who is up for re-election this November, to provide any of his thoughts on this issue.  The most we can expect from him is a whine that he did not have more tax dollars to spend.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Camille Capobianco permalink
    January 17, 2010 9:20 pm

    I am very happy they are not burdening Morgan Village with this,but it still does not solve the major issue of keeping safety in the prision system. They are very short sighted and removing Law Enforcement will burden the entire county and will NOT SAVE MONEY. They need to come to the bargining table and be fair with PBA local 351, who has been working with no contract for over 5 years.

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