Home>Articles>Murphy recommits to closing Edna Mahan, but doesn’t provide timeline

Gov. Phil Murphy outside the Judith M. Persichilli Department of Health building. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Murphy recommits to closing Edna Mahan, but doesn’t provide timeline

Governor promised to close prison more than a year ago 

By Joey Fox, September 28 2022 5:14 pm

Asked today about the prospective closure of the troubled Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, first announced in June 2021, Gov. Phil Murphy said that the process is currently underway to determine how and when the prison will be closed.

“I know that the commissioner of the Department of Corrections, Victoria Kuhn, has hired an expert in these matters, and that expert is in the process of working with her and her team to come up with what they think are the best alternatives,” Murphy said. “My guess is we’ll know more on that sooner than later, I can’t give you an exact date.”

The prison was rocked by a January 2021 incident in which prisoners were removed from their cells and beaten by correctional officers, 14 of whom were indicted by a grand jury today – the latest in a long line of scandals that have plagued the prison. That incident led to the resignation of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks and to Murphy’s promise to close the facility.

“I am the governor who said, you know what, we’re not kicking the can anymore, we’re going to close it,” Murphy said today. “That will still happen. Exactly what that looks like – do you have one facility versus two, where are they located, et cetera – is still to be determined.”

During her confirmation hearing in May, Kuhn committed to that same goal, calling reforms to the state’s prison system a “priority.”

But Jack Ciattarelli, the Republican whom Murphy narrowly defeated in last year’s gubernatorial election, said today that the Murphy administration’s lack of a clear schedule for closing the prison is unacceptable.

“More than one year later, no action or plan on the prison,” Ciattarelli said. “Only indictments of prison employees who allegedly abused inmates. Hey Governor, what’s the plan???”

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