TRENTON, N.J. – Assemblywoman Jean Stanfield says “enough was enough” following the first hearing of yet another investigation into the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility and its commissioner, Marcus Hicks.
“Today marks the start of the fourth investigation into the horrors at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, perpetrated under the leadership of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks. And yet there have been zero hearings on my bipartisan impeachment resolution that would take real action and remove him from office. We have wasted far too much time and taxpayer money, while women at the facility continue to suffer,” Stanfield said.
The Assembly Judiciary and Women and Children committees held a rare joint hearing Thursday on the atrocities committed by corrections officers at the Edna Mahan facility. It follows three other ongoing and completed investigations.
A U.S. Department of Justice investigation released in April last year detailed years of sexual and physical assault by guards at the facility leading to criminal convictions. The situation has only gotten worse since the report was released. Thirty-one guards were suspended in January after guards allegedly handcuffed a woman in a cell and severely beat her.
Another investigation by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has led to charges against four guards.
Gov. Phil Murphy commissioned a third investigation by tapping an outside law firm headed by former-State Comptroller Matthew Boxer to lead it. The firm has invoiced the state $630,000 in expenses, according to an NJ.com report.
“Governor Murphy has been paying Mr. Boxer and his firm since 2018 to advise the Department of Corrections. Now we expect that same firm to lead an impartial investigation against Commissioner Hicks?” Stanfield questioned. “That notion is insulting and ridiculous.”
“Enough is enough! Since Governor Murphy won’t fire Commissioner Hicks, Democratic legislative leaders need to bring a vote now on my bipartisan articles of impeachment, so we can remove this man from office before another woman is endangered,” she continued.
A group of 20 Republicans and Democrats co-sponsor Stanfield’s articles of impeachment introduced in February.
The resolution (AR220) says Hicks failed to take reasonable measures to protect inmates from sexual abuse, considered cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and that he is responsible for violating inmates’ civil rights and the public’s trust, among other offenses.
“I introduced articles of impeachment more than a month ago because I wanted to see action, not feel-good statements from politicians that do nothing to help the situation,” said Stanfield. “I can’t help but feel that starting a fourth investigation is nothing but a stall tactic. It’s time to act.”