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Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | we are all numbers here

Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | we are all numbers here - Essex County Jail Annex
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I do not mourn that prisons exist,
I mourn that there is a need for them to.
I mourn that humanity is frail and weak,
that we are so prone to hurting ourselves and those around us
that there is a need to create tombs for the living
so that those who rape and steal and maim and kill
can do so only to each other.
In here, that is the only part of who you are that you have left.
Everything else is of another world - one you have been exiled from.
You are reduced to a case file, a series of letters and numbers
cataloging the worst you've been caught doing,
categorizing your threat level to those around you.
The very nature of prisons is binary:
locked/unlocked, open/shut, barred/unbarred, free/confined.
When you strip away all that is good in a person's soul, math is all that is left.
We are all numbers here,
and somehow no matter what you add, everything equals zero.
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Photograph and text by Matthew Christopher of Abandoned America. Essex County Jail Annex, Caldwell NJ. 2008.

If you'd like to learn more about this location, it is a featured chapter in the new Abandoned America book Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences. Signed copies are available through my website, or you can find (unsigned) copies available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other online booksellers across the globe.


Also in: Essex County Jail Annex

Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | Main Entrance
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | Entry Stairwell
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | Lobby Cage
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | Visitor's Room
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | smaller and smaller every day
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | Guard Station
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | Cafeteria Entrance
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | the remorseless progression
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | Day Room
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | Caged Coffee
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | salvation lies within
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | Guard Desk
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | what recourse is left
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | one can always hope
Essex County Jail Annex (Caldwell, NJ) | this mirage of social justice