Western New Jersey

New Jersey lawmakers call for overhaul at women's prison

VIDEO: NJ lawmakers call for overhaul...

UNION TWP., N.J. - Lawmakers have had enough with reports of abuse claims against staff at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women.

They've requested Attorney General Christopher Porrino of the state of New Jersey and Commissioner Gary Lanigan conduct a "top-to-bottom review" of the Union Township facility in Hunterdon County to determine if a "substantial structural and cultural overall at the prison is warranted."

Loretta Weinberg, Senate Majority Leader, and Valerie Vainieri Huttle, Assembly Deputy Speaker, wrote a letter to Porrino and Lanigan stating that the scope of allegations against the staff at the facility raises serious questions about the leadership on board as well as its commitment to protecting the female inmates' safety and welfare. 

The letter states, "It is clear that the growing list of sexual abuse and exploitation reports at the facility are not merely “isolated incidents” as they had been previously described by corrections officials. Even more disturbing are the allegations that officers and administrators at the facility have been complicit in covering up these incidents."

The lawmakers say that the court records of substantiated cases of abuse seem to be far higher than the substantiated rape claims that corrections officials reported to federal government, which is required by law. 

In addition to the top-to-bottom review of the facility, Weinberg and Huttle are asking for officials to conduct a review to determine if all necessary state and federal laws are being adhered to. 

"Female inmates have long been a particularly vulnerable population, but all the more so when the system they are at the mercy of decides to prey on them," the lawmakers wrote.



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