The Essex County Jail Annex situated in Essex County, NJ. It was supervised by 17 staff members under the governorship of the Essex County New Jersey Sherriff. Prisoners housed here have either been condemned for a crime or are presently in the pre-preliminary stage.
It was designed by the Eastern State Penitentiary architect, John Haviland and was built in 1872/73. After having many additions built throughout the years it finally closed in 2003 when a new, state-of-the-art prison was built. It’s currently being abated and many of the smaller buildings surrounding the prison have been demolished. The contents of much of the prison has been piled up on it’s exterior walls and strewn about the property in piles. It appeared that a good deal of the original prison structure had been abandoned long before the new additions by the deplorable condition of the interior.
History of Essex County Jail Annex
The complex, which was constructed in 1872/3 to solve that familiar old problem of overcrowding in Newark’s jails, has a flat, grim aesthetic couldn’t be any more fitting for jail. Over the years additions included the Men’s Building, Women’s Building, a Power Plant, the Shoe Shop, and the “New” Wing, constructed in 1923.
Despite these additions, the penitentiary still faced overcrowding problems. Prisoners slept in cots outside the crammed cells, and trailers were moved onto the property for additional space. By the 1980s, the cell block tiers in the New Wing were condemned, only seeing about 40 years of service. The lower floors of the building were scarcely used until it was finally shuttered in 1995.
The sight where the jail stands today was originally an old stage coach stop. The house that stood on the grounds was moved right down the street on elm road. When the original building was built it was a Penitentiary. It was a state Penn. Remember, the county lock up was on Newark street in Newark, N.J. The Penitentiary was self sufficient. On the grounds as late as the 1970s were apple and peach orchards that the inmates tended to. All the lower fields at the bottom of the property by elm road were farmed by the inmates. Also on the property was a piggery and chicken coop, both torn down in the early 1980s although they stopped using them years earlier.
In the 1970s long after the County took over the Facility it was renamed the Essex County Correction Center, While what was the New Jail built in the 70’s across from the court house in Newark was still called the Essex County Jail and run by the Sheriffs Dept. During this time The North Caldwell bldg housed mostly sentenced inmates. In the early 1980s both jails were merged into one dept called the Essex County Dept. of Public Safety, that also included the County Police. and the North Caldwell building was called the Essex County Jail Annex. The prisoners also were different at this time. Much more violent, and many un-sentenced.
In 2004 EJCA was closed to consolidate it with another prison in Newark. Many prisoners who were awaiting sentencing, and reportedly more violent, resided at the Caldwell complex until it closed in 2004. Demolition of the satellite buildings began in 2007, and by 2011, all structures were destroyed, despite few buildings. When the jail became abandoned, homeless drug addicts moved in, and still may live there today,