10 Prisons in New Jersey: An Inside Look at the System

The state of New Jersey has a complex and extensive prison system that is home to thousands of incarcerated individuals. With over a dozen correctional facilities throughout the state, the prison system plays a significant role in the criminal justice system of New Jersey.

However, the operation and management of these prisons have been the subject of intense scrutiny and criticism in recent years. From issues related to overcrowding and understaffing to allegations of abuse and mistreatment of prisoners, there are a number of issues that the New Jersey prison system faces.

In this article, we will explore the history, current state, and future of prisons in New Jersey, including the challenges they face and the efforts being made to address them.

New Jersey Prison Map

Use the New Jersey prison map below to locate any facility. Click on the map markers to read our detailed guide of that facility.

State Parks

Prison NameLocationInmate CapacitySecurity LevelsGenderOperator/
Bayside State PrisonRural South JerseyN/AMaximum, Medium, and MinimumMaleNew Jersey Department of Corrections
East Jersey State PrisonRahway, New Jersey1,400Maximum, Medium, and MinimumMaleNew Jersey Department of Corrections
Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for WomenClinton, New Jersey660Maximum/Medium/MinimumFemaleNew Jersey Department of Corrections
Garden State Youth Correctional FacilityYardville, New Jersey633Medium/MinimumMaleNew Jersey Department of Corrections
Mid-State Correctional FacilityWrightstown, New Jersey696MediumMaleNew Jersey Department of Corrections
New Jersey State PrisonTrenton, New Jersey1,550MaximumMaleNew Jersey Department of Corrections
Northern State PrisonNewark1,245Maximum/Medium/Minimum
MaleNew Jersey Department of Corrections
South Woods State PrisonBridgeton3,020Maximum/Medium/Minimum
MaleNew Jersey Department of Corrections

Bayside State Prison

Bayside State Prison, located in rural South Jersey, is a correctional facility that spans over 1,148 acres of farmland and woods. The prison complex consists of three operational units, including a satellite unit at Ancora.

Inmates have access to a variety of educational and vocational training programs, as well as medical and dental care, and psychiatric, psychological, and social services. These rehabilitation programs are designed to help inmates transition back into society after serving their sentences.

The prison also offers a full range of employment opportunities for the inmates. Overall, Bayside State Prison provides a structured environment for those who have been incarcerated to work towards positive change and prepare for a successful re-entry into society.

East Jersey State Prison

East Jersey State Prison is a maximum, medium, and minimum security correctional facility for adult male offenders in New Jersey. Established in 1896, it is the state’s second-oldest institution.

The prison’s unique architecture, including a large dome and imposing metal gates, has made it a popular location for film production, with many motion pictures having been filmed on-site.

The facility offers a range of programs to help inmates prepare for their eventual release, including educational and vocational training, substance abuse treatment, and counseling services.

While the prison has faced some challenges in recent years, including overcrowding and issues with staff turnover, it remains an important part of New Jersey’s criminal justice system.

Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women

Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women is a state correctional institution in New Jersey that exclusively houses female offenders who have been sentenced by the state. The facility offers a campus-like setting with various housing units and support buildings.

There are two security compounds at the facility, one for minimum security and another for maximum/medium security. The third compound is reserved for inmates with varying classifications of special mental health needs.

The facility offers programming that includes counseling, education, and vocational opportunities for the inmates. The Board of Trustees oversees the management of the facility.

Garden State Youth Correction

Garden State Youth Correctional Facility is a correctional institution located in New Jersey that comprises a main facility and a minimum security complex. The inmates at this facility participate in a full-day program of work, vocational training, and academic education.

The academic training offered ranges from basic skills to a high school degree. Vocational classes include auto body and service, barbering, food service, and paralegal training.

Additionally, members of the minimum custody inmate population perform jobs on facility grounds, at other state facilities, and at community work sites. The facility provides a range of programs and services to help prepare inmates for their eventual release and re-entry into society.

Mid-State Correctional Facility

Mid-State Correctional Facility is a 696-bed prison located on the grounds of Fort Dix, a military base in Burlington County, New Jersey. The facility, which occupies 12.24 acres, opened in 1982 under a leasing agreement between the New Jersey Department of Corrections and the federal government.

The state of New Jersey became the owner of Mid-State in August 2004. After being closed in June 2014, the facility reopened in April 2017. Mid-State is unique in that it is the first licensed, clinically driven drug treatment program provided by the NJDOC.

Operating procedures must follow specific guidelines due to the prison’s location on a military base.

New Jersey State Prison

New Jersey State Prison, located in Trenton, is the oldest prison in New Jersey and one of the oldest correctional facilities in the United States. This maximum security institution is home to the most difficult and/or dangerous offenders in the state’s inmate population.

The facility provides a level of custodial supervision and control beyond that of any other state prison. It is the only completely maximum security institution in the state.

The prison is committed to providing professional treatment services, including education and social work, to its inmates. The facility’s multifaceted approach ensures that inmates have access to a range of services that help them prepare for re-entry into society.

Northern State Prison

Northern State Prison is a correctional facility located on 43 acres in Newark, New Jersey. It is home to a diverse group of offenders who are classified as General Population, Special Needs, Administrative Close Supervision Unit, and Therapeutic Community.

The latter is designed to help inmates with addictive behaviors. The facility offers community service activities to minimum-security inmates.

Northern State Prison is one of several prisons in New Jersey that serve to rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders into society. The facility operates under strict guidelines to ensure the safety of both inmates and staff.

South Woods State Prison

South Woods State Prison is a large correctional facility located in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Spread across 85 acres of land, it is the state’s newest prison and has the largest inmate population.

The complex is made up of three medium custody housing facilities, a minimum custody housing unit, and a detention unit. The Extended Care Unit provides medical care for infirmary cases, palliative care, and inmates with chronic diseases or handicaps.

Each housing facility offers academic and vocational education, mental health support, social services, and religious resources. The prison is designed to accommodate inmates of various custody levels, with a focus on providing necessary care and support for those with specific needs.

Federal Prisons

Prison NameLocationInmate CapacitySecurity LevelGenderOperator/
Federal Correctional Institution, FairtonNew JerseyMedium-securityMale-onlyMaleFederal Bureau of Prisons, DOJ
Federal Correctional Institution, Fort DixBurlington CountyLow-securityMale-onlyMaleFederal Bureau of Prisons, DOJ

Federal Correctional Institution, Fairton

The Federal Correctional Institution, Fairton is a medium-security federal prison located in New Jersey. The facility is exclusively for male inmates and is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which is a part of the United States Department of Justice.

In addition to the main prison, there is also a satellite prison camp for minimum-security male offenders. FCI Fairton is situated 50 miles southeast of Philadelphia and 40 miles west of Atlantic City.

As a medium-security prison, FCI Fairton houses inmates who have committed more serious crimes than those in minimum-security facilities. The prison serves as a crucial part of the federal government’s efforts to maintain law and order while rehabilitating inmates.

Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Dix

Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Dix is a low-security federal prison for male offenders located in Burlington County, New Jersey. Operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the facility houses the largest number of inmates in the United States.

A satellite prison camp is also present on the premises to house minimum-security male inmates. The prison is divided into three compounds, with the East and West compounds constituting a single prison each, and a camp located between them.

FCI Fort Dix is located adjacent to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and is situated approximately 40 miles from Philadelphia.



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