Protection for women prisoners

From New Jersey Citizen Action:

Yesterday, broke the story on allegations of severe physical abuse against inmates at the Edna Mahan women’s prison in Clinton, New Jersey. Dozens of corrections officers and staff at the prison have since been suspended, pending a criminal investigation. Unfortunately, this is not the first report that Edna Mahan violates the civil rights of prisoners, is mismanaged, and perpetuates a culture of systemic abuse. Less than a year ago, the Department of Justice released a scathing report outlining the “open secret” of sexual abuse of prisoners by corrections officers.

We join in the outrage expressed by lawmakers and advocates upon hearing this news. Even more, we hope that the special investigator appointed by Governor Murphy will conduct a careful examination of these acts of violence against women and ultimately hold those responsible accountable.

Beyond holding those responsible for these terrible acts of violence accountable, we must put in place safe guards to ensure that something like this never happens again. Too many prisoners are held in conditions that threaten their health and safety, without adequate means of speaking up. And too often, this burden falls disproportionately on minorities. It’s worth noting that over half of the prisoners at Edna Mahan are women of color.

In 2018 a resolution was introduced to create a commission that studies sexual assault, misconduct, and harassment by staff against inmates in State correctional facilities and submits a report of findings and recommendations. Yet, the bill has since been stalled. We are calling on the legislature to revisit and pass this resolution. Join us and urge your legislator to stop sexual assault and physical abuse in New Jersey Prisons.