NEWARK - A brand new Newark city jail facility, paid for by taxpayers, is apparently not going to open. But despite repeated requests by Kane In Your Corner, neither the Newark Police Department nor Newark City Hall is saying why.
Kane In Your Corner first told you about the unused jail earlier this month. It's located in the basement of Newark Police Headquarters on Clinton Avenue, which opened in 2011. But the jail portion remains unused. Prisoners and police officers assigned to jail duty are still in squalid conditions at the old Green Street jail, which is infested with rodents and plagued with ventilation problems that cause black mold. The Green Street facility is so outdated, in fact, that a federal court first ordered it to close back in the 1980s.
Two weeks ago, Newark City Spokesperson Sakina Cole told News 12 New Jersey that she had no idea why the city had not opened the new jail, saying "that's among the host of questions about the police department that we'd like to have answers to." Cole also said she did not know whether the jail would remain unused or whether its opening had merely been delayed.
But according to a footnote buried deep within last week's U.S. Department of Justice report on the Newark Police Department, the city has already decided not to use the new jail and informed the feds of its intentions. The report says: "The NPD completed construction of a new police headquarters…However, the NPD recently informed (us) that it will not be moving operations (there)."
Kane In Your Corner put in repeated phone calls and emails with spokespeople for both Newark City Hall and the Newark Police Department asking for an explanation as to why the city was choosing not to use its brand new facility. None of those questions were answered.