Salem County Jail
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Salem County is located in the picturesque section of the Delaware Valley area with a population of 70,000. The city of Salem serves as the county seat. The correctional system in Salem County has an extensively proud history since its inception in 1682 when a sheriff, court recorder, and justice of the peace were appointed to Salem.
The local jail was built of logs serving to hold only a handful of prisoners until 1709 when a larger building was constructed to hold more inmates as the local populace blossomed. The jail has been rebuilt a total of six times due to population growth and destruction by fire in 1795. This same building was expanded in 1817 and in 1908 as the Salem population increased.
This courthouse was the scene of the “treason trials” where Loyalists faced charges for supposedly assisting the British in the Salem Raid of 1778. Governor Livingston pardoned and exiled the four men sentenced to execution by hanging. Execution by hanging was commonplace in New Jersey until the introduction of the electric chair.
The Old Salem County Courthouse was built in 1867 at the cost of $40 thousand. It was constructed of local stone masonry designed in accordance with the clean lines and austere forms found in Quaker architecture. Thirty-two brick jail cells were created to hold one prisoner each. It is the oldest courthouse still utilized in the United States. Administration offices for the sheriff, mayor, and other city staff were incorporated into this building as well. A more modern jail was built in 1957.
Salem’s correctional system believes that prisoners can be rehabilitated into becoming productive societal members by having established the Strengthening American Families and Reducing Incarceration (SAFARI) program. Incarceration recidivism rate has declined 70% since it began. This is a voluntary, proactive program trains prisoners in customer service, resume writing and interview skills. Prisoners completing the program are permitted the opportunity to interview with real employers seeking to hire them upon their release.
The current Salem County Correctional Facility was built in 1994 at a cost of $17 million and currently houses both male and female inmates numbering upwards around 150. A recent expansion also added an additional 30 beds to accommodate female inmates after Gloucester County closed down its female jail. The facility is located in Mannington Township at 125 Cemetery Road, Woodstown, NJ 08098. More information about them can be discovered on the Salem County government website.
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