ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO ANNOUNCES HIRING OF NEW DIRECTOR FOR THE ESSEX COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS

Former Deputy Commissioner with the New Jersey Department of Corrections Brings 25 Years of Administrative Experience to Lead $416 Million Correctional Facility

Newark, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced on Tuesday, April 27th that Scott A. Faunce, a former Deputy Commissioner for the New Jersey Department of Corrections, has been hired as the Director of the Essex County Department of Corrections. He is replacing Cleophas Simpson, who will remain with the Essex County DOC as Deputy Director.

“The intimate knowledge that Cleo Simpson has of our new Correctional Facility made him the right person to guide our Department of Corrections during the challenging transition period,” DiVincenzo said. The County Executive noted that Simpson oversaw the construction of the new Correctional Facility for the last three and a half years and led the transition team that planned the move into the new facility. Mr. Simpson was responsible for developing policies, procedures and evacuation plans for the new facility. The historic and massive move was completed over two weekends in March and ran smoothly because of the comprehensive planning by Mr. Simpson.

With the construction and transition phases complete, Essex County had to focus its efforts on operating the new Correctional Facility as efficiently and effectively as possible. This includes making sure that recommendations outlined by the Federal Masters are fulfilled, that Corrections Officers fully adhere to policies and procedures, and that Essex County falls into compliance with State statutes regarding the rights and welfare of inmates.

“Scott Faunce has amassed impeccable credentials during his 25-year career with the New Jersey Department of Corrections. I look forward to him replicating what he accomplished at the Hudson County Correctional Center and turning our Department of Corrections into a model agency,” DiVincenzo said, noting Mr. Faunce was selected after an ongoing search.

Mr. Faunce’s credentials with the New Jersey Department of Corrections include serving as Acting Administrator of the Hudson County Correctional Center during a State takeover of the facility in 1996. Mr. Faunce began working at the Hudson County facility in August 1995 as the leader of an Operational/Security Audits Team. In January 1996 he took over as Acting Administrator of the 2,300-bed facility and was directly responsible for implementing policies and ensuring compliance with State statutes for inmate care.

“The County Executive has displayed a great deal of confidence in me to take charge of Essex County’s Correctional Facility. This institution, unlike any other facility, has the potential to be the flagship institution in New Jersey for both State and County facilities,” Mr. Faunce said. “To operate this modern facility effectively will require the support and teamwork of Essex County’s Corrections Officers. It is important that they follow the procedures and policies that have been created for their own safety and be held accountable to fulfill the responsibilities of their jobs,” he added.

Mr. Faunce served as Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections from June 2001 to May 2002. As Deputy Commissioner, he was responsible for overseeing the department’s $878 million operating budget, 8,900 uniformed and civilian employees, and 27,000 State-sentenced inmates. Mr. Faunce supervised public information officers, assisted with training and recruitment, and led the Special Operations Group, which responded to emergency situations within the department and was deployed by the Office of Emergency Management throughout the State. He also acted as the Department of Corrections liaison for Intra-Governmental Affairs, Office of Victim and Recovery Services, Governor’s Emergency Preparedness Commission and the Attorney General’s Office.

From September 1996 to June 2001, Mr. Faunce was the Administrator at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, N.J. This facility serviced an inmate population of 2,450 with 700 employees. While there, he implemented several model programs now used throughout the State, including the Inmate Request System, Ombudsman Decentralization and Decentralized Feeding.

A resident of Doylestown, Pa., Mr. Faunce began his career with the New Jersey Department of Corrections in 1977 as a Corrections Officer at the Youth Correctional Institution in Bordentown. He was promoted in 1981 to Investigator with the Internal Affairs Unit. While still working in Internal Affairs, he was promoted twice, reaching the position of Principal Investigator at the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center in Avenel. In 1987, Mr. Faunce was promoted to Assistant Superintendent at the Adult Diagnostic Center.

After years of delays and mismanagement, County Executive DiVincenzo took control of the $416 million project to build the Correctional Facility when he entered office on January 1, 2003. He restored order to the project and within just 12 months construction of the building was completed. Three months later, Essex County moved into the Correctional Facility on Doremus Avenue. The move was accomplished without any inmate uprisings or medical emergencies – a testament to the professionalism of the Essex County Department of Corrections and all the other law enforcement agencies that participated.

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