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Addiego: Decision to Close Edna Mahan ‘Overdue,’ Corrections Commissioner Must Be Replaced

Trenton – Senator Dawn Addiego (D-Burlington) today lauded the Governor’s “overdue” decision to close the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women and renewed her call for Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks to resign or be fired.

“The Governor’s decision to close the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women is long overdue,” Senator Addiego said. “The Senate voted unanimously four months ago to call for the transfer of the facility’s inmates, who have been subjected to sexual and physical abuse for years, culminating in the January 11 assaults that led to the indictment of nine prison officials.

“It is now time for the Governor to make another decision that is long overdue, and that it is to fire Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks, who showed himself unwilling or unable to address the cultural and institutional issues at Edna Mahan. The Senate voted unanimously to demand Hick’s termination, and as today’s report showed, it is time for him to go,” Senator Addiego said.

Senator Addiego noted that the Lowenstein Sandler report commissioned by the Governor found that the Corrections Department was “caught flat-footed” by the departure of the reformer brought in to oversee Edna Mahan, and that “there was no Acting Administrator” in charge of the women’s prison on the night that the assaults occurred.

“This failure to ensure that proper leadership was in place at a women’s prison that has been plagued by a culture of rape and abuse falls directly on Commissioner Hicks. How could this happen nine months after the U.S. Justice Department found that corrections officers routinely violated the civil and constitutional rights of women inmates?” Senator Addiego demanded. “Women inmates should not have to live in fear.”