Senator LINDA R. GREENSTEIN
District 14 (Mercer and Middlesex)
Senator NIA H. GILL
District 34 (Essex and Passaic)
Requires administrators at Edna Mahan to have access to information concerning investigations of sexual abuse allegations.
CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT
An Act concerning Edna Mahan administrators’ access to sexual abuse investigations information and supplementing Title 30 of the Revised Statutes.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. a. The administrator of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women shall be provided with full and complete access to all investigative files and regular briefings concerning investigations of alleged violations of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act in the facility.
b. The facility administrator shall establish a sexual abuse incident review team within the facility to review incidents of alleged abuse. The administrator shall consult with other appropriate administrators and the incident team to devise and implement policy changes concerning movement, discipline, or any other corrective action necessary to prevent further sexual abuse in the facility.
c. For the purposes of this section, "facility administrator" or "administrator" means the chief operating officer or senior administrative designee of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility.
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill requires the administrator of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women to be provided with full and complete access to all sexual abuse investigative files of alleged violations of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), as well as regular briefings on investigations of these complaints.
The bill also requires the administrator to establish a sexual abuse incident review team within the facility to review incidents of alleged abuse. The administrator also is to consult with other administrators and the incident team to devise and implement policy changes concerning movement, discipline, or corrective action necessary to prevent further sexual abuse.
Currently, there does not appear to be a coherent approach to reviewing cases of alleged sexual abuse in Edna Mahan to inform those policy changes needed to prevent further sexual abuse. Information collected by the Special Investigations Division (SID) in the facility concerning alleged incidents of sexual abuse is not provided to the facility administrator and other top administrators and the facility does not have an internal incident review team consisting of these administrators.
This bill is in response to the April 2020 report published by the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office District of New Jersey entitled “Investigation of the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women (Union Township, New Jersey).” The report concluded that there is reasonable cause to believe conditions at Edna Mahan violate the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution due to facility staff sexually abusing inmates. The report further concludes that the sexual abuse is pursuant to a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of these Eighth Amendment rights.