The escalating feud between Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop and Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise has taken another turn for the worse, as the two public officials exchanged hard shots over the latest suicide at the county jail.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“It is an example of where national reform is needed. It’s time for the state to step in takeover as independent oversight/reform/action is needed,” Fulop wrote about the county jail in a tweet last night.
The mayor’s remarks came after news broke that an inmate at the Hudson County Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility committed suicide via hanging yesterday, the sixth death, as well as the fourth suicide, at the jail since June.
Expressing disappointment, DeGise noted that major improvements are coming to the jail in the near future and that their medical service provider, CFG Health Services (who has a $29.4 million county contract), may be terminated.
“One death at the jail is too many. We are spending $1.2 million for a new female psyche unit in response to the two suicides in 2017 by female inmates,” DeGise said in a statement.
“In the case of this young man’s death, if medical provider failure led to it as reported, I will terminate their contract.”
The county executive, who went off on Fulop for helping lead the charge to oust him during an appearance on our live show earlier this month, teed off on the mayor for suggesting a state takeover of the jail is the answer.
“His tasteless way of expressing this politically-motivated bit of ugly grandstanding—a tweet just a couple of hours after a troubled young man’s death—is really disgraceful,” said DeGise.
“There is no need for a state takeover … I would urge the mayor, who I allowed to take undeserved credit for our jail’s groundbreaking drug treatment and community re-integration efforts when he was running for governor and had nothing to say about state takeovers then, to work cooperatively with us now rather than politicizing a tragedy.”
A Jersey City spokeswoman did not return an email sent late last night seeking comment.
DeGise’s office also pointed to a chart compiled by the Philadelphia Inquirer late last year that indicated 125 deaths occurred at the jails across the state between 2012 and 2016.
The average number of deaths facility, per year, were six. During this time frame, Hudson County had nine, while Camden County had 28.
Meanwhile, four counties: Bergen, Gloucester, Hunterdon and Somerset all accounted zero fatalities.
Speaking on our live show a week prior to DeGise, Fulop expressed that his decision to move the county in a different direction isn’t personal: obviously the former doesn’t see it that way.