In the last two years, The Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, the only women’s prison in New Jersey, has fired six employees and criminally charged them over sex abuse claims, and recently a seventh guard has been accused.
A NJ state Senate committee will be collecting testimony from former inmates and advocates, according to the committee chair, in an effort to determine how extensive the problem is on February 22 in Trenton.
There are reported to be claims by multiple victims, represented by several law firms, accusing the prison of failing to protect the women from abuse. The accusers claim that the administration was aware of the issue and failed to do anything about it.
The allegations range from officers having sexual relationships with inmates to offering them food or cigarettes for sex and forcing them to perform sexual acts with threats of violence or disciplinary charges.
Unlike other states, New Jersey state law states that any sexual contact between inmates and staff is a crime because prisoners cannot legally consent. Female prisoners are particularly vulnerable.
The Standard will be following this story and reporting on it.