The New Jersey Globe reported earlier this week that Gov. Phil Murphy has decided to replace Commissioner of Corrections Marcus Hicks after the release of an independent report regarding the abuse of people incarcerated at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women. The governor also announced the facility’s closure.
Earlier this year, Rae Rollins, a Black transgender woman who had been incarcerated at Edna Mahan, requested a transfer after being assaulted twice and fearing for her safety. This resulted in her being transferred to a men’s prison, an illegal decision that rendered her even more vulnerable. Upon learning about the situation from Garden State Equality and other community advocates, Gov. Murphy acted swiftly to transfer her to a different women’s prison.
“Gov. Murphy is making the right moves in order to chart a new path for New Jersey’s correctional system that includes the fair treatment of incarcerated LGBTQ people, especially trans women of color,” said Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director of Garden State Equality. “Moving people between facilities and closing them down will not automatically fix the systemic problems our state’s prison system has, but it is a step forward. Similarly, Commissioner Hicks’ resignation will not undo the harm that was done to people incarcerated at Edna Mahan, but it is a step forward. We now have the opportunity to bring in someone who will prioritize bringing actual justice into our criminal justice system.”