Home>Highlight>Stanfield urges lawmakers to remove Hicks after latest charges in prison scandal

Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton). (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Stanfield urges lawmakers to remove Hicks after latest charges in prison scandal

‘It’s time for the legislature to act through impeachment,’ assemblywoman says

By Nikita Biryukov, March 18 2021 5:15 pm

Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield (R-Westampton) renewed her call for the impeachment of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks after the state filed charges against four more guards over abuses at the state’s only women’s prison.

“The women at Edna Mahan don’t have any more time for feel-good resolutions,” she said. “It’s time for the legislature to act through impeachment. Failure to support impeachment is a failure to remove the man who has overseen all of these atrocities.”

On Thursday, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced assault and official misconduct charges against four more guards at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, bringing the total number charged over inmate beatings at the troubled prison in Hunterdon County to eight.

The criminal probe, Grewal said, remains ongoing.

Abuses at the prison have spurred other probes. Gov. Phil Murphy tapped former State Comptroller Matt Boxer to head an independent investigation into the abuses, the latest in a lurid history that includes past accusations of sexual assault at Edna Mahan.

He said Wednesday that investigation was “a little bit tied up” because of the attorney general’s criminal probe.

Thirty-five members of the State Senate, including all 25 Democrats in the chamber, have called for Hicks resignation. Support for the commissioner’s removal is less clear in the Assembly, where calls for him to step down have emerged from a far smaller number of lawmakers.

Assemblywomen Carol Murphy (D-Mount Laurel) and Angela McKnight (D-Jersey City) have introduced a separate resolution in their chamber calling for Hicks to resign, urging the U.S. Department of Justice to take over the troubled facility and requesting Gov. Murphy order inmates transferred to a safer facility.

It’s not clear when that resolution will move, but it’s not likely to do so before April 8, when Hicks is due to appear before a joint hearing of the Assembly Judiciary and Women and Children Committees.

“Today marks a month since I filed articles of impeachment against Department of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks for failing to act against the countless instances of sexual and physical abuse by his employees at Edna Mahan,” Stanfield said. “Since that time, Democrats have put forth toothless resolutions asking for his firing and have relied on Governor Murphy to do his job.”

The impeachment resolution, also sponsored by Assemblywomen Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Englewood) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit) was introduced on Feb. 22, but it likely won’t advance through the legislature.

Stanfield is challenging State Sen. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) for the politically competitive eighth district’s Senate seat.

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