Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson), a member of the Assembly Women and Children Committee and chair of the Assembly Homeland Security Committee, issued the following statement on Monday on the recent changes in the NJ Department of Corrections Ombudsman’s Office:
“The Office of the Ombudsman in the Department of Corrections was put in place to ensure grievances are heard and handled in our correctional facilities. From what we’ve learned from the joint hearing last week, this was not done. It’s a shame and reckless on the part of leadership.
“The recent resignation in DOC leadership of this department presents an opportunity for us to put someone in that position that will help us right the wrongs and improve our facilities. To provide the support the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility needs specifically, it deserves a point person within the Ombudsman’s office dedicated to its reform. I’m looking into legislation that would ensure there is in place a direct liaison for Edna Mahan who would provide timely updates on improvements and whose sole job duty would be to handle any concerns that may arise in the facility.
“Prison systems throughout the country are fraught with systemic challenges which have, in many ways, encouraged a culture of degradation and cruelty for its residents. Unfortunately, New Jersey is no different. It is time for this to change in our state with a strategic plan and proper oversight.”