Lopez, Vainieri Huttle & McKnight Bill to Require Body Cameras on Corrections Officers Clears Assembly Panel

(TRENTON) – Legislation requiring more accountability from corrections officers inside of New Jersey’s prison facilities sponsored by Assemblywomen Yvonne Lopez, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Angela McKnight was approved by the Assembly Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

This measure is one of six legislative actions taken by the Assembly Judiciary Committee to address the concerns raised over the current culture and environment of New Jersey’s only women’s prison, Edna Mahan Correctional FacilityThe 6-bill package aims to improve transparency and training for corrections officers, accountability, and access to reentry programs for inmates to curb recidivism.

The bill ( A-5039) requires all correctional police officers employed in a correctional facility in this State to wear a body worn camera (BWC) while acting in the performance of professional duties. 

Assemblywomen Lopez (D-Middlesex), Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen, Passaic) and McKnight (D-Hudson) issued the following joint statement on the legislation:

The egregious acts of violence and abuse committed against inmates in the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women exemplifies the necessity of both body worn cameras and a state-of-the-art camera system in State correctional facilities.  These cameras will provide continuous visual coverage of entire facilities and monitor the behavior of corrections officers, as well as inmates. There must be a better record of interactions between inmates and officers in our prison facilities. It’s time for more accountability and transparency in our prison system.

The six bills reviewed by the Assembly Judiciary panel are 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.