16 Mar ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO AND FREEHOLDER PRESIDENT GILL ANNOUNCE $750,000 BUDGET ALLOCATION TO CREATE LEGAL SERVICE FUND FOR ICE DETAINEES AT ESSEX COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
Newark, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and the Board of Chosen Freeholders announced that the 2019 Essex County Budget will include an allocation of $750,000 to create a Legal Services Fund to provide representation to ICE detainees at the Essex County Correctional Facility.
“We are pleased to join with the Freeholders to announce the creation of the Legal Services Fund for ICE detainees. This will provide immigration detainees have enhanced access to legal representation,” DiVincenzo said. “We have always been committed to providing the best possible conditions for people being detained at our Correctional Facility. This will ensure detainees have the legal representation they are entitled to,” he added.
“The subcommittee hearing held on Thursday evening was a much needed step in demonstrating the Board’s commitment to make sure that all people of the county, including undocumented residents, receive equal protection under the law,” Gill stated. “As an immediate action item, I asked for substantial monies from the revenue of the ICE contract be earmarked for the legal defense of the undocumented detainees in the Essex County Jail. We are pleased to announce, along with the Administration, that $750,000 will be set aside for the legal defense of said undocumented detainees,” he added.
“The subcommittee hearing provided the proper forum for a necessary conversation that needed to be had. This was somewhat overdue, but it’s never too late to do the right thing. We are happy to join with the Administration in providing the necessary legal assistance to the undocumented detainees of Essex County,” Freeholder Vice President Wayne Richardson said.
The creation of the Legal Services Fund represents the commitment by the County Executive and Freeholder Board to ensure ICE detainees have access to legal representation that is above and beyond the pro bono services that currently are available. The specifics of how the new fund will operate are still being worked out. Detainees also have access to a variety of immigrant advocacy organizations that provide assistance to both those in the ECCF and their families.
Opened in 2004, the ECCF has been accredited by the American Correctional Association, which sets the standards for correctional facilities and detention centers in the United States, American territories and some foreign countries, since 2013. It also has received 100 percent compliance with the New Jersey State Department of Corrections every year since 2006 and has been accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities since 2007.