Home>Highlight>Kuhn clears committee with promise to shut down Edna Mahan

Acting Corrections Commissioner Victoria Kuhn at her Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on May 19, 2022. (Photo: Joey Fox for the New Jersey Globe).

Kuhn clears committee with promise to shut down Edna Mahan

Senate Judiciary Committee also approves 11 Superior Court nominees

By Joey Fox, May 19 2022 1:04 pm

Victoria Kuhn was approved unanimously by the Senate Judiciary Committee today to be the commissioner of the state Department of Corrections, ten months after she took over the agency in an acting capacity following former Commissioner Marcus Hicks’ resignation in June 2021. The vote clears her for likely confirmation by the full Senate on May 26.

In her statement before the committee, Kuhn said she will continue the work she has already been doing as commissioner to strengthen reintegration programs and reduce recidivism. She also addressed the controversy that felled her predecessor: the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, where sexual abuse of inmates has been rampant for years.

“The reforms [at Edna Mahan] are a priority for me,” Kuhn said. “I am confident, as I sit here, that we are in a significantly better place at Edna today than we ever have been… I’m confident and committed to the closure of Edna Mahan, and I assure you I will be responsible in doing so.”

Several senators, including Judiciary Chair Brian Stack (D-Union City), asked Kuhn pointed questions about the reduction in the state’s prison population and the rise in crime that has hit most of the country, but all ultimately voted to advance her nomination. 

Also before the committee today were 11 Superior Court nominees, ten of whom were part of a diverse slate of judges nominated by Gov. Phil Murphy in March. Ten of the nominees – Rahat Babar, Supti Bhattacharya, James Bucci, Stevie Chambers, David Nasta, Michelle Perry-Thompson, Gary Potters, José Vilariño, Sherry Wilson, and Russell Wojtenko – were approved unanimously, while Jodi Bouer received nine yes votes and an abstention from State Sen. Troy Singleton (D-Delran).

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