First Six Measures will be heard by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday
(TRENTON) – On April 7, the Assembly Judiciary and the Assembly Women and Children Committees held a joint hearing on the current culture and environment of New Jersey’s only women’s prison, the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. The testimony received at the hearing confirmed the Justice Department’s report of systemic failure at Edna Mahan, including a pattern of neglect and abuse against the women at the facility.
“The pattern of abuse, including rampant sexual abuse, and systemic failures at Edna Mahan call out for legislative action,” said Assemblyman Raj Mukherji (D-Hudson), chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee. “When the women at Edna Mahan needed protection, their calls and complaints went unanswered. Some even watched their complaints discarded in the trash right in front of them. Cultural change and additional accountability and oversight are needed to safeguard the basic human rights of these inmates.
“These six measures are the committee’s first steps toward addressing these depravities and will improve transparency and training for corrections officers, accountability, and access to reentry programs for inmates to curb recidivism.”
A 6-bill package was introduced Wednesday as the first of a two-part legislative package addressing the concerns at Edna Mahan. The Assembly Women and Children Committee will convene in June to review additional measures concerning Edna Mahan Correctional Facility.
The following measures are included in the package:
|Expands eligibility for certain inmates to participate in residential community release programs; modifies DOC reporting requirements concerning capacity of these programs.|
|Expands scope of inmate reentry assistance and benefits.|
|Requires correctional police officers to wear body worn cameras.|
|Concerns sexual abuse investigations in State correctional facilities|
|Prohibits retaliation against inmates in State correctional facilities who report sexual abuse; criminalizes retaliation and failure to report abuse.|
|Expands State corrections officers training to include topics contributing to their core mission of treating inmates with dignity, fairness, and respect.|