East Jersey State Prison

East Jersey State Prison (EJSP) is a maximum-security prison operated by the New Jersey Department of Corrections that is located just outside of Rahway, NJ. It was established in 1896 as Rahway State Prison and was the first reformatory in New Jersey. This facility houses approximately 1,500 inmates.

In 1988, the citizens of Rahway, NJ requested that Rahway State Prison be renamed East Jersey State Prison after they claimed that being identified with the prison stigmatized the city and affected property values. Many locals still refer to the facility by its original name.

The prison covers 21 acres and features a large walled compound with an administration building, cell houses, schoolrooms, chapel, shops, and other buildings.

East Jersey State Prison has been a big part of popular culture. Boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter was released from the facility in 1985 after he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences. A movie starring Will Smith was made about his life, and the 1975 Bob Dylan song Hurricane was inspired by Carter.

The Escorts, a R&B group, was discovered by record producer George Kerr during an inmate variety show that Kerr attended at the facility. In 1972, Kerr successfully petitioned the federal government to record an album with the group of inmates from behind bars. A mobile recording unit was brought to the prison, and in nine hours the group recorded their first hit album, All We Need Is Another Chance. Later that year, the group recorded a second album, 3 Down 4 to Go. A documentary film, titled All We Need Is Another Chance was released in 2017.

Lifers Group is a hip hop group that came from the Lifers Group Juvenile Awareness Program portrayed in Scared Straight!. In 1991, the group released an album and an EP, titled #66064, featuring songs The Real Deal and Belly of the Beast.

Penelope Spheeris directed a 30-minute documentary that focused on the group's songs and depicted their life in East Jersey State Prison. It was released in 1992 and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video.

Because of its distinctive architecture that includes a large dome, radial cell blocks, imposing metal gates and the facility’s proximity to New York City, the facility has been a popular filming location for many movies.

  • Crazy Joe (1974)
  • Scared Straight! (1978)
  • Something Wild (1986)
  • Lock Up (1989)
  • Malcolm X (1992)
  • Rounders (1998) 
  • He Got Game (1998)
  • The Hurricane (1999)
  • Ocean's Eleven (2001) 
  • Jersey Boys (2014)
  • All We Need Is Another Chance (2017) 
  • The Irishman (2019)

Prison Insights

East Jersey State Prison

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Visiting Hours and Rules

Visiting hours at East Jersey State Prison are as follows:


                                                    Registration                                                         Saturday and Sunday Visits

Period One                                7:45 am - 9:00 am                                               9:00 am - 11:00 am 

Period Two                                11:45 am - 1:00 pm                                            1:00 pm - 3:00 pm 


                                                    Registration                                                          Visits Monday - Friday 

Period One                                7:30 am – 9:30 am                                              8:00 am - 10:00 am 

Period Two                               11:30 am – 1:30 pm                                            12:00 pm - 2:00 pm 

Night Visits                               6:30 pm – 7:30 pm                                               7:30 pm – 8:30 pm 

[Windows visits are one hour in duration. Each offender is permitted one window visit per week.] 


                                                    Registration                                                        Visits Saturday and Sunday 

Period One                                 8:00 am – 9:30 am                                             8:30 am – 11:00 am 

Period Two                                12:00 pm – 1:30 pm                                          12:30 pm – 3:00 pm 

The inmate is responsible for submitting a list containing names and addresses of potential visitors.  If you wish to be included on an offender's visit list, you must contact the offender in writing. You must wait until the offender notifies you that you have been approved to visit him.

Dress Code

Proper attire is required to enter the visiting room at East Jersey State Prison. No more than six visitors can visit an inmate at one time, and you must bring a valid Photo ID. 

The following items are not authorized to enter the Visit Program visiting areas:

  • Cell phones, beepers, or other electronic devices. 
  • Credit cards, bank access cards, etc. 
  • Condoms, cosmetics, candy, and cigarettes. 
  • Drugs (prescribed or otherwise), Asthma inhalers, and other life sustaining medications must be clearly marked and surrendered to the Visit Supervisor prior to entering the visit area. 
  • Keys (with the exceptions of locker keys and/or one vehicle key – no remotes or alarms)
  • Money (cash or coin)
  • Photographs
  • Purses, handbags and wallets (Clear plastic clutch bags or clear zip-lock sandwich bags may be utilized for authorized items)
  • Sunglasses (non-prescription)
  • Transportation passes
  • Weapons or sharp objects
  • Any item deemed to be a threat to the orderly running of the institution

The following guidelines must be followed, regardless of gender: 

  • No transparent or fishnet clothing
  • No clothing that exposes undergarments or a portion of the body considered private
  • No skin-tight clothing
  • Tops must cover shoulders and midriff areas
  • No tube tops, tank tops, halter tops, low-cut shirts, or shirts that expose shoulder, midriff area, torso, or back
  • Bottoms must at least cover the waist to mid-thigh
  • No shorts, skirts, or dresses ending above midthigh, or which have an inseam length or slit ending more than three inches above the knee
  • No low-rise shorts, skirts or pants that expose the midriff or any portion of the buttocks
  • No otherwise clearly inappropriate attire
  • No Military-style clothing, clothing closely resembling that issued to inmates, custody staff, or law enforcement, professional-styled uniforms
  • Clothing depicting a message, either in wording or art, that could impact upon the safety, security or orderly operation of the correctional facility 
  • No hat or headgear, unless it is religiously oriented or medically necessary, and the visitor agrees to a search of same 
  • No shoes or sneakers with wheels (i.e.: Heelys)
  • No flip-flops 
  • No steel-toed boots

Physical Address

East Jersey State Prison
1100 Woodbridge Road
Rahway, NJ 07065

Driving Directions: https://goo.gl/maps/Tus2C5bGrujiyU888

General Phone Number


Inmate Mailing Address(es)

Inmate Name, DOC Number
East Jersey State Prison
Lock Bag R
Rahway, NJ 07065

How to Call an Inmate

Inmates at the East Jersey State Prison can’t receive incoming calls, but they do have access to phones during daytime hours for outgoing calls. For complete details on how to call an inmate in New Jersey, please click here.

How to Send Money

To send money to an inmate at East Jersey State Prison, you must use JPay. Once you open a free account, you can send money to your inmate via their website, mobile app, or by telephone.

JPay is a self-help kiosk system where incarcerated individuals can access their funds, download digital books, programming, music, access stamps, send and receive electronic correspondence, and so much more. 

There is also a money order option with JPay. You must use their deposit slip and make the money order payable to JPay and mail it to:

P.O. Box 170770
Hialeah, FL 33017

Money Order Deposit Form (English)
Money Order Deposit Form (Spanish)

Programs For Inmates

NJDOC's commitment to offender reentry is realized through a variety of programs, including vocational and educational training. 

Offenders have the opportunity to earn High School Equivalency diplomas and post-secondary degrees from institutions like Rutgers University, Raritan Valley Community College, and Princeton University. 

The inmates also have the opportunity to engage with a variety of trades, including metalwork, culinary, farming, carpentry, mechanics, to name a few. Commissioner Hicks regularly advocates for the hiring of released individuals, and the Vocational Planning Board assists with available post-release employment opportunities.

Pictures of East Jersey State Prison

Careers at East Jersey State Prison

If you are interested in a career with the New Jersey Department of Corrections and would like to work at the East Jersey State Prison, you can find out more information by clicking here.