Essex County Report Overview

As Essex County has become more diverse, the number of people in the county being put behind bars – many of whom are never convicted of crimes – has skyrocketed. The county’s District Attorney and Sheriff and local law enforcement officials are locking up far too many men and women in jail unnecessarily, while failing to follow best practices for reducing incarceration, holding police accountable and preventing gun violence.


This LIVE FREE County Best Practices Scorecard provides a snapshot of the policies and practices that are decimating Essex County’s communities of color through irresponsible prosecution of young Black and Latino men and women, setting bail that average community members cannot afford, private prison profiteering and refusing to hold law enforcement officers accountable for police misconduct and murder. The truth is that there’s a Ferguson in Essex County. Download the complete scorecard to see the results.


In key areas, Essex County falls short of best practices for promoting community safety and reducing the number of people entangled in the criminal justice system. The county is missing opportunities taken by other communities to improve safety and justice. Download a complete summary of Essex’s failing policies.


This report is a call for leadership. Elected law enforcement officials, here in Essex County, and across the United States, must choose whether to provide leadership to end mass incarceration and criminalization, or step aside, and let others lead. Download the Essex County full report and jump to page 74 for a policy guide of best practices.