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December 17, 1999
Prison for Sex-Offenders Halted
A P Kamath
Pradip Kothari and scores of Indian businessmen who have a strong stake in the economy in Woodbridge and neighboring towns had good news early this week.
A judge gave orders halting the New Jersey state from further actions to build a $ 20 million, 300-bed prison for high-risk sex offenders in Woodbridge. The project was to come up in the Avenel section of Woodbridge, which already houses the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center for sex offenders.
Woodbridge and its neighbors have a high concentration of south Asian and Hispanic residents. As newer immigrants there was plenty of pressure to deal with, said many residents and businessmen.
"We don't want to have this fear that these serious sex-offenders are around us," said one businessman.
"Even if they were behind the bars, we would have fears about them every day."
Superior Court Judge Robert Longhi restrained officials from moving ahead with the controversial proposal and said he will review documents that Woodbridge officials want released to them in their battle to keep the prison out of town.
Mayor Jim McGreevey termed the ruling a "significant victory" and said the project could be delayed for months while the documents are reviewed.
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