Matthew 27 tells us that Judas, filled with remorse following his betrayal of Christ, returned his thirty pieces of silver to the temple and hanged himself. The priests took his blood money and used it to buy the "potter's field" as a burial place for strangers. In America, the "potter's field" is a cemetery or portion of a cemetery used for the burial of indigents and unknown persons at public expense.
The state laws regarding the burial of indigent persons is far from uniform, and some states have no law at all. One of the best known potter's fields in the United States, because of its size and unique history, is Hart Island in New York City. This 101 acre island, in use since 1869, is estimated to hold the remains of nearly 1 million people. It is managed by the City's Department of Corrections, and inmates dig the mass graves and handle the simple coffins.
A reporter for the New York Times visited Hart Island recently, and this worthwhile article is the result.