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Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. (Photo: NJ Globe file photo).

Statements on Edna Mahan Correction Facility

By David Wildstein, February 04 2021 3:22 pm

ASSEMBLYWOMAN VALERIE VAINIERI HUTTLE

Attorney General Grewal’s announcement today brings us one step closer to justice. For years, reports have emerged detailing the systemic abuses at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. 

The New Jersey legislature has stepped up to prevent these tragedies, passing my legislation to establish protocols for the investigation and reporting of these crimes. Nonetheless, the ugly history of abuse and misconduct at Edna Mahan persists.

I am pleased to see that charges have been filed against several of the correctional officers who have assaulted and injured inmates at Edna Mahan and I applaud Attorney General Grewal for his commitment to justice. Nonetheless, I renew my call that Commissioner Hicks must be put on leave. 

New Jersey must become a leader in preventing abuse and neglect in our correctional facilities, we must become a leader in ensuring safety and dignity for all.

GOVERNOR PHIL MURPHY

“I am grateful to Attorney General Grewal for taking swift action and filing criminal charges in the wake of the horrifying incident at Edna Mahan on January 11, which resulted in severe injury to several inmates. Among other things, the indictment alleges that corrections officers committed official misconduct by abusing their office to injure or deprive individuals under their care. Any abuse of power is abhorrent and violates the public trust, and can never be tolerated or excused.

I understand from the Attorney General’s announcement that the criminal investigation is ongoing, and I am confident that anyone who violated the law will be held accountable. Beyond the criminal investigation, we must have a full accounting of how this incident was able to happen so that we can put in place necessary reforms and safeguards. I am thankful to former State Comptroller Matt Boxer for taking on this crucial task.”

REPUBLICAN GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE JACK CIATTARELLI

“Governor Murphy – starting during his campaign and now carrying through to his administration – is guilty of protecting men in positions of power, while women are forced to endure sickening verbal and physical abuse. Governor Murphy ignored credible allegations of rape and misogyny on his campaign, gave a cushy patronage job to someone accused of sexual assault during his campaign, and now continues to let Corrections Commissioner Hicks remain in his job despite what are vile, stomach-turning allegations made by Attorney General Grewal today about the treatment of women under his care at Edna Mahan. The Senate Democrats were right to call for Hicks to go, and Governor Murphy’s decision to stand by him is both offensive and inexcusable.”

STATE SENATOR MICHAEL TESTA, JR.

“We have federal reports of constitutional rights violations, unnecessary COVID deaths, evidence of widespread sexual and physical abuse, and now criminal charges related to the ongoing mismanagement of our prisons. How much evidence does Governor Murphy need that Commissioner Hicks is unfit to lead the New Jersey Department of Corrections? Does he really need an expensive report to tell him what is readily apparent?”

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER LORETTA WEINBERG AND STATE SENATOR LINDA GREENSTEIN

“The Attorney General said it best in his statement: ‘Edna Mahan has a long, ugly history.’ It was sickening to read the details of the charges against the three officers, and what makes it even more frustrating is that these abuses were allowed to occur despite the scathing report by the U.S. Justice Department last April that concluded that Edna Mahan Corrections officers repeatedly violated the federal Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act and the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. The acting administrator who was reportedly present during the assaults has been suspended pending further investigation, and the Corrections Commissioner who put him in charge of that facility should immediately be replaced, as the entire 25-member Senate Democratic Caucus recommended to the Governor last week. The Attorney General’s Office expects further indictments, but it is clear that the institutional culture within the Corrections Department precludes the agency from reforming itself. We again urge the Governor in the strongest possible terms to call on the federal government to bring in outside authorities to assume oversight of Edna Mahan.”

NEW JERSEY LAW ENFORCEMENT SUPERVISORS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT WILLIAM TOOLEN

“The New Jersey Law Enforcement Supervisors Association (“NJLESA”) is a  diverse law enforcement organization proudly representing over six hundred (600) State Law Enforcement Supervisors in various law enforcement departments and/or agencies throughout the State of New Jersey. To this end, NJLESA members are a vital cog in ensuring the public’s safety and welfare. Given the nature and importance of the services its members provide on a daily basis, the NJLESA strives for its members to serve with the utmost level of dignity, professionalism, and the highest of ethical standards. Any actions and/or conduct by its members that go against these goals are not tolerated and condemned in the strongest possible terms. The NJLESA recently ascertained that two (2) Correctional Police Sergeants were criminally charged regarding certain allegations pertaining to incidents occurring at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. Recognizing the allegations are somewhat troubling, the NJLESA stresses the importance of a full and fair investigation being conducted so that all the relevant facts and evidence regarding the incidents at issue can be obtained. Until that time, all conclusions, determinations, and/or judgments regarding the officers charged must be reserved. Instead, in matters such as these, the phrase “innocent until proven guilty” remains paramount to ensure the integrity of the judicial and legal processes remain untarnished.”

ASSEMBLY SPEAKER PRO-TEMPORE GORDON JOHNSON

“If proven to be true, those who were involved should be held accountable for their actions.  These allegations are disturbing and taking advantage of one’s position of authority to abuse and violate others is deplorable. These women rightfully deserve justice.

“A thorough, comprehensive investigation of widespread abuse at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility is necessary to get to the root cause of the abhorrent behavior and right the wrongs that continue to take place at Edna Mahan.”

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