State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) again called for Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks to step down or be removed from office Tuesday.
“My Senate colleagues and I have been clear since news broke of the January 11th attack at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility,” she said. “For the last 106 days, our demand has remained the same: Commissioner Hicks needs to resign immediately or be terminated by the Governor.”
The embattled commissioner has faced calls to resign from most every member of the State Senate and a sizeable group of Assembly people in the wake of inmate beatings at the state’s only women’s prison.
Ten guards and supervisors have been charged over the alleged incidents, and Attorney General Gurbir Grewal’s investigation into the matter remains ongoing.
Gov. Phil Murphy has so far stood by Hicks, deferring action until the conclusion of an independent investigation conducted by former State Comptroller Matt Boxer. Though he initially said that probe would be conducted on an expedited basis, he’s since said it’s being delayed by the ongoing criminal investigation.
“It is evident he has been unable to address the cultural and institutional issues at the facility, let alone protect the health and well-being of the women being held there,” Addiego said. “If the facility is ever going to be able to move past its troubled past, we need a competent and credible leader at the helm of the Department of Corrections to ensure accountability and oversee a full cultural reset.”
The issue could become a focus in Addiego’s re-election race. Her opponent, Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton), has introduced a resolution to impeach Hicks and been vocal about seeking his ouster.
Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin (D-Woodbridge), understanding the politics of the competitive eighth legislative district, is not likely to move that measure.