Essex County, N.J. “Faith in Essex County, the local chapter of Faith in New Jersey, is encouraged that the Essex County Executive and Board of Freeholders are moving forward to appoint members to the Civilian Oversight Task Force for Essex County Correctional Facility (ECCF). Following ongoing reports of egregious conditions and abuse at Essex County Correctional Facility, the Oversight Task Force is an important first step in providing meaningful protections to people detained and incarcerated there.
“As people of faith, it is our responsibility to listen to and honor the wishes of our most vulnerable siblings. Guided by love for our neighbors, Faith in New Jersey advocated for the establishment of formal oversight for Essex County Correctional Facility. We are heartened that the County took the concerns of local advocates seriously.”
Because of our commitment to meaningful protections for our siblings at Essex County Correctional Facility, in consultation with the community and stakeholders, we provided County Executive Joseph D. Vincenzo and the Board of Chosen Freeholders with a list of eight candidates we endorsed for appointment on the board because of their commitment to justice and upholding the dignity and worth of those residing in ECCF. We were pleased to learn that several of these candidates were interviewed. Those candidates include Serges Demefack, Marshall Justice Rountree, Rosa Santana, and attorney Bennet Zurofsky. We encourage County officials to demonstrate their engagement with stakeholders and broader community by appointing candidates endorsed by Faith in New Jersey and our advocacy partners.
“We have an absolute responsibility to care for the most vulnerable members of our society, including all of those incarcerated at the Essex County Correctional Facility. Every incarcerated person is created in the image of God, and we are obligated to attend to their human dignity. No crime, no place of birth, and no personal history justifies any type of abuse or neglect in our jail.
“With the establishment of the Task Force to protect those incarcerated, the County Executive and Board of Chosen Freeholders should turn their efforts toward decreasing the levels of incarceration within Essex County, supporting justice reforms, and increasing the County’s income from avenues that benefit the communities of Essex County without profiting off of Black and Brown bodies. Faith in New Jersey looks forward to working with County officials to build a beloved Essex County.”