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Essex County Department of Corrections Award Ceremony Held

Anthony Puglisi

Sunday, November 17, 2013 • 12:42am

NEWARK, NJ -  Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. hosted the Essex County Department of Corrections Awards Ceremony at the Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark on Thursday, Nov. 14. During the ceremony, the County Executive recognized Lt. Anthony DaSilva as Supervisor of the YearOfficer Peter Janiec as Corrections Officer of the Year and Social Services Director Vierginia St. Phard-Dudley as the Civilian of the Year. The event was an opportunity to raise awareness about the professionalism of the Corrections Department staff and the difficult job they perform. 

“There is no doubt that correction officers and our staff at the Correctional Facility have a very difficult job and put their lives on the line to maintain the safety, security and decorum of our facility,” DiVincenzo said. “They have a vital role in our criminal justice and public safety systems and we should not take them for granted. Recognizing these employees will raise awareness about their contributions and sacrifices to keep us all safe,” he added.

DaSilva, Janiec and St. Phard-Dudley were selected for their honors by a committee comprised of the Correctional Facility administration, union leaders and fellow corrections officers. 

Lt. Anthony DaSilva: 2013 Supervisor of the Year 
Lt. DaSilva joined the Essex County Department of Corrections in 1996 and graduated from the Essex County College Police Academy in 1998 where he received the Charles F. Black Firearms Award and the Physical Training Award. In 1999, DaSilva was assigned to the Record Room of the Newark Jail, where he worked closely with the courts and other law enforcement agencies, and was a member of the Cell Extraction Team. In 2002, he was promoted to the rank of Sergeant and became the day shift supervisor of the Record Room. Beginning in late 2003, DaSilva lead the effort to organize the Record Room at Doremus Avenue facility and was responsible for transferring thousands of inmate files to the new jail. In 2006, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant and became a Shift Commander responsible for the overall operations of the entire facility in 2010

“I am very honored to be chosen. I am proud to be part of the corrections family and wear this badge over my heart with pride. I share this award with all of my officers and dedicate it to my late father, who passed away four months ago,” DaSilva said. “The two things that stand out in my career is the merging of two record departments into one at the new jail and the transfer of over 2,000 inmates from two separate jails to our new state-of-the-art facility in one weekend. That had never been done before,” he noted. 

A native of Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood, DaSilva graduated from East Side High School, received the Garden State Distinguished Scholarship Award and earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from Montclair State University. He currently resides in East Brunswick, NJ with his wife and three children. 

Lt. Anthony DaSilva with his family members  
Credit: Glen Frieson

Office Peter Janiec: 2013 Corrections Officer of the Year 
Officer Janiec is being honored with the Officer of the Year Award for 2013 for his on-going dedication, commitment and commendable performance on the job. He was also recognized as the Essex County Corrections Officer of the Year by the New Jersey County Jail Wardens Association at its annual training conference in Atlantic City last month. 

“I thank the County Executive, my superior officers and the custody staff I work with. Without them I would not be here. I also dedicate this award to my father who passed away a year ago,” Janiec said.

Janiec has thrived while being assigned to several difficult positions. He joined the Essex County Department of Corrections in 2008 and began his custody career with the Security Threat Group focused on overseeing inmates who are members of the Crips street gang. In 2009, he received the Essex County Executive’s Teamwork Award for distinguishing himself through his attitude and commitment to duty. Janiec currently services in a maximum custody area in which the most dangerous inmates are housed because of his ability to maintain order and control of his area of responsibility.

Janiec graduated from the Essex County College Police Academy in 2009, at which time he received a Merit Award and served as a member of the Academy Color Guard and EMT. A Clifton native who loves baseball, he now lives in Bloomfield and is engaged to be married. 

Office Peter Janiec and Fiancee
Credit: Glen Frieson

Vierginia St. Phard-Dudley: 2013 Civilian of the Year 
Vierginia St. Phard-Dudley joined the Essex County Department of Corrections in 2007 and became head of the department’s Social Services Office in 2010. Since joining the department, she has created a women’s support group and a book club, and significantly expanded the GED program at the jail, an achievement of which she is very proud. She is the primary liaison with several external groups and organizations that serve the jail population, including Offender Aid and Restoration which provides life skills training and the PATCH program to keep inmates connected with their children. 

“I love my job very much and I enjoy what I do. I enjoy helping and assisting individuals to better themselves. In addition, I enjoy creating an atmosphere in which our population can learn and grow,” St. Phard-Dudley said. “Knowing that I helped someone change their lives bring me satisfaction and joy. My future goals are to extend and create more programs to help,” she added. 

St. Phard-Dudley, a newlywed, is a Newark native who was raised in Irvington and now resides in West Orange with her husband, Corrections Officer Robert Dudley, Jr., and her 7-year-old son Isaiah. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from William Paterson University and is currently enrolled in the Rutgers Addiction Certificate Program. She was raised by her mother, an immigrant from Haiti, and is the first person in her family to graduate high school and seek further education. 

“Under the leadership of our county executive, we have made tremendous strides developing leadership and accountability among our employees and making our Correctional Facility a model for other institutions to follow. Lt. DaSaliva, Officer Janiec and Mrs. St. Phard-Dudley are well-deserving of the honors they are receiving because they are role models for their peers and have set the standards of professionalism that have made our facility so successful,” Essex County Corrections Director Alfaro Ortiz said.

Vierginia St. Phard-Dudley and family  
Credit: Glen Frieson

Correctional Facility History 
The $416 million correctional facility was just 40 percent completed when DiVincenzo took office in January, 2003. The County Executive restored order to the project and construction was completed in just 12 months. The transition from two antiquated jails took only three months and the 2,100 inmates were transferred into the new facility over two weekends in March, 2004. The facility was designed to house about 2,370 inmates and is equipped with cutting edge technology.

In August 2013, the Corrections Department earned accreditation from the American Correctional Association, which sets the standards for correctional facilities and detention centers in the United States, American territories and some foreign countries. It also has received 100 percent compliance with the New Jersey State Department of Corrections for the past six years (2006-2012) and has been accredited by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care and the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities since 2007.

It is the only facility in New Jersey to have received the Ambassador Award from the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Mental Health Stigma, which it earned in 2008. In addition, it has successfully passed inspections by Creative Corrections in 2008, Detention Field Inspection Group in 2009, MGT of America, Inc. from 2008 to the present and the Nakamoto Group, Inc. in 2008 and 2009, which determined that the Correctional Facility is meeting the highest standards to house federal inmates and immigration detainees.

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