Worst Prisons in New Jersey – [State’s Toughest Institutions]
Worst Prisons in New Jersey – [State’s Toughest Institutions]

Worst Prisons in New Jersey – [State’s Toughest Institutions]


New Jersey is home to a number of correctional facilities, each with its own unique history and reputation. In this article, we will delve into the eight worst prisons in New Jersey, exploring their conditions, security measures, and the challenges faced by both inmates and staff. From notorious maximum-security facilities to lesser-known institutions, we will uncover the harsh realities of these prisons and shed light on the issues plaguing the state’s correctional system.

Worst Prisons in New Jersey

New Jersey is known for its tough stance on crime, and its prisons reflect that attitude. Here are the eight worst prisons in New Jersey:

1. Rahway State Prison

Location: Rahway, New Jersey

Rahway State Prison, also known as East Jersey State Prison, is a maximum-security facility that houses some of the state’s most dangerous criminals. With a history dating back to 1896, this prison has seen its fair share of violent incidents and escapes over the years.

2. Northern State Prison

Location: Newark, New Jersey

Situated in Newark, Northern State Prison is another high-security facility notorious for its harsh conditions. Known for its strict disciplinary measures and limited recreational opportunities, this prison is often considered one of the toughest in the state.

3. New Jersey State Prison

Location: Trenton, New Jersey

The New Jersey State Prison, located in the capital city of Trenton, is the oldest and largest correctional facility in the state. Housing inmates convicted of serious crimes, this maximum-security prison is known for its high levels of violence and gang activity.

4. South Woods State Prison

Location: Bridgeton, New Jersey

South Woods State Prison, located in Bridgeton, is a medium-security facility that has gained notoriety for its overcrowded conditions and inadequate staffing. The lack of resources and facilities has contributed to a tense and often volatile environment within the prison walls.

5. Garden State Youth Correctional Facility

Location: Yardville, New Jersey

While not strictly a prison, the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility deserves mention due to its reputation as one of the most challenging correctional institutions for young offenders in New Jersey. Designed to house inmates aged 16 to 25, this facility strives to strike a balance between punishment and rehabilitation.

6. Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women

Location: Clinton, New Jersey

The Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, located in Clinton, is the only correctional facility in New Jersey dedicated solely to female inmates. Despite its focus on rehabilitation, this prison has faced numerous controversies, including reports of abuse and misconduct towards prisoners.

7. Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility

Location: Annandale, New Jersey

Similar to the Garden State Youth Correctional Facility, the Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility focuses on the rehabilitation of young offenders. Situated in Annandale, this medium-security facility aims to provide education, vocational training, and counseling to prepare inmates for their eventual reintegration into society.

8. Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility

Location: Bordentown, New Jersey

Named after the former New Jersey Attorney General, the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility is designed for young male offenders. With an emphasis on education and counseling, this facility aims to address the underlying issues that contribute to criminal behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What factors were considered in determining the worst prisons in New Jersey?

The selection of the worst prisons in New Jersey took into account various factors such as the level of security, incidents of violence, overcrowding, reports of abuse, and overall conditions within the facilities.

Q2: Are the worst prisons in New Jersey all maximum-security institutions?

While some of the worst prisons in New Jersey are indeed maximum-security facilities, there are also medium-security and youth correctional facilities that have made it to the list. The severity of the conditions and the challenges faced by inmates and staff contributed to their inclusion.

Q3: Are there any ongoing efforts to improve conditions in these prisons?

The New Jersey Department of Corrections has acknowledged the issues within these prisons and has implemented various initiatives to address them. These include increasing staffing levels, providing additional training for correctional officers, and enhancing rehabilitation programs for inmates.

Q4: Are these prisons the only ones facing challenges in New Jersey?

While the prisons mentioned in this article are among the worst in New Jersey, it is important to note that other correctional facilities in the state also face their fair share of challenges. The issues highlighted here serve as a snapshot of the broader problems within the state’s correctional system.

Q5: How does New Jersey compare to other states in terms of prison conditions?

The conditions in New Jersey’s prisons are reflective of the challenges faced by correctional systems across the country. While some states may have their own unique issues, the overarching goal of improving safety, security, and rehabilitation remains a common focus nationwide.

Q6: What steps can be taken to address the problems in New Jersey’s prisons?

Addressing the challenges in New Jersey’s prisons requires a multi-faceted approach. This includes investing in better infrastructure and resources, implementing effective rehabilitation programs, providing adequate staffing levels, and fostering a culture of accountability and transparency within the correctional system.


The eight worst prisons in New Jersey highlight the significant challenges faced by both inmates and staff within the state’s correctional system. From overcrowding and violence to allegations of abuse, these facilities serve as reminders of the need for ongoing reform and improvement. By addressing the issues faced by these prisons, New Jersey can strive towards a correctional system that prioritizes safety, rehabilitation, and successful reintegration of offenders into society.

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