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Essex County Jail Annex


Essex Jail Annex NJ -  First Pictures Sent in

Essex County Jail

North Caldwell Penitentiary

Pictures and Descriptions from a former employee

  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 1970's 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 80's although they stopped using them years earlier.  In the 70's 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. under Sheriff Cryan.  During this time The North Caldwell bldg housed mostly sentenced inmates.  In the early 80's 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.

If the tier pic above was taken from inside this building here, this was inside what we called building 2, built at almost the same time as the original building.  For a long time it was the women's building, then after a new modular building closer to verona was built for the women, it was refurbished and used to house male inmates as the prisoner population swelled in Essex County. 

This is a shot of What we called the New wing, or the North wing.  It was built approximately 50 years after the rest of the original jail,(new wing, lol) and connected to the main bldg by a long hallway and the mess hall, which was built the same time.  It was state of the art when it was built, with electronic controls for the tier and cell doors.  Unfortunately it didn't last nearly as long as the original 2 buildings.  The tiers were condemned before I started in 88, but the wing still housed app.20 inmates on cots in the officers area and our desk was moved to the stairwell landing.  The whole wing was finally shut down around 1995.

Stairwell landing in the New Wing.  Notice officers phone still on wall.

Mess Hall.  Not pictured were 2 rooms up high with small windows and shot gun ports.  also not shown are the app. 12 tear gas modules that were dropped by control room incase of a riot.  They were old and never in use during my time.

Main gate looking down into the front door.  to the right was the shift commanders office, the small doorway with light coming through was the wardens conference room and to the left of the stairway was the wardens office.

This was the main center floor in the original building.  all wings connected here.  The booth in front was center control manned by an officer and a sergeant during my times. They were locked in that area at all time as this was the only way out of the front of the building.  This is also where roll call was called at the beginning of each shift. (notice the lines on the floor)  straight ahead id the long hallway connecting the new wing to the original building.  to the left (not shown) is where the hospital wing and the west wing were.  on the other side of the booth is where the east wing was.

these visit booths where right behind the control booth.  There was one on either side, one for the east wing and one for the west wing.  During my time they used the mess hall for visits.  The booths were only used for 15 minute non contact visits.

main stairs looking up into the front foyer where the shift commanders office and the wardens office were.  to the left was one of the armories where we locked our weapons before taking our post.

this was either A-B tiers or E-F tiers.  each had 18 cells but during over crowding there were times when there was as many as 30 men on cots outside the cells.

this is either C-D, or G-H tiers also in the west wing.  Much smaller tier, less movement.

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