NJ agrees to pay $20.8M over abuse at women’s prison
The state has announced a $20.8 million settlement and a plan to start using body-worn cameras at the women's prison as a result of sexual misconduct and harassment accusations going back at least seven years.
Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton Township has been at the center of at least 20 complaints on behalf of 22 current or former inmates, as well as two class-action complaints from women who were either directly impacted by sexual misconduct or who were inmates in the facility between 2014 and the current time, the state Department of Corrections said late Wednesday.
The settlement, still pending court approval, was unveiled ahead of DOC Commissioner Marcus Hicks testifying on Thursday before two Assembly committees, in response to the recent brutal accusations of an overnight incident in January in which a number of female inmates were beaten.
As of March 18, a total of eight corrections officers have been charged in the ongoing investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office and the Hunterdon County Prosecutor’s Office.
“My administration is ushering in a new era in corrections, with safety and rehabilitation at its core. We've put in place various safety reforms to address concerns that have been ongoing and long before our administration, including the recent body-worn camera project increasing oversight and accountability while reducing allegations to maintain safety within our facilities," Hicks said in a written statement about the settlement.