The Justice Department confirmed a pattern of sexual assault on inmates, combined with a recent escape, Murphy moves to close down the NJ prison.
HUNTERDON COUNTY, NJ - EDNA MAHAN CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
After multiple probes by the Justice Department, a pattern of systemic violence and sexual abuse on inmates by correctional officers has been revealed at New Jersey's female-only correctional facility, Edna Mahan.
On Tuesday, November 23, 2021, the Justice Department and New Jersey legislators agreed on new, more secure safeguards to protect the prisoners at Edna Mahan and establish federal supervision over the prison and its inmates.
Federal agents revealed in an investigation that the prison supervisors and staff were unable to protect inmates at Edna Mahan from repeat sexual assaults by correctional officers. A federal monitor, Jane Parnell, former Washington Prison Director, has been appointed to ensure Edna Mahan's compliance with these new orders and protect prisoners from potential retaliation from correctional officers.
Governor Phil Murphy announced plans to close Edna Mahan correctional facility for women, but this new order for safeguards and monitoring will apply to all NJ prisons and follow the inmates at Edna Mahan to their new location.
The updates and reforms to New Jersey's prisons come sixteen months after a Justice Department investigation revealed Edna Mahan was a site for repeated sexual abuse on prison inmates by correctional staff.
As if the prison has not felt enough public scrutiny, just four weeks prior to today on October 31st, an inmate, Jessica C. Graham, escaped the prison. She was reported missing October 31st around 2:30 PM and was arrested in Clinton, New Jersey shortly after 7 PM the same day and returned to Edna Mahan. Graham was serving a five-year prison sentence for criminal mischief for a charge that began in June of this year.
Governor Murphy's call to close Edna Mahan should not surprise New Jersey residents as the correctional facility has faced numerous crises prior to the Justice Departments' probe, including multiple escapees.