NJ didn’t protect women in prison from sexual abuse, report says
CLINTON — A federal report accuses officials at New Jersey’s only state women’s prison of having failed to take action to prevent rampant sexual abuse at the facility despite being aware of systemic problems.
The Department of Justice report released Monday alleges that the state corrections department and officials at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women violated inmates’ constitutional rights by failing to protect them.
Several corrections officers at the prison have pleaded guilty or been convicted of sexual abuse and misconduct in recent years.
The report called sexual abuse at the prison “severe and prevalent,” and said a “culture of acceptance” has persisted for many years. It concluded that the prison failed to adequately investigate abuse complaints and didn't protect those who reported abuse from retaliation.
The prison could face a federal lawsuit by June if it doesn't comply with the report's recommendations.
A message was left with the state Department of Corrections seeking comment.
The Mahan facility, which is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of New York City, gained notoriety in the late 1970s when Joanne Chesimard, who was convicted of killing New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster during a traffic stop in 1973, escaped and eventually fled to Cuba, where she was granted asylum by Fidel Castro.
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