Corrado: Body Cameras on Corrections Officers Not Necessary to Show Commissioner’s Failings
Senator Kristin Corrado responded to news today that Department of Corrections officers at the state’s trouble-plagued Edna Mahan women’s facility will soon be wearing body cameras.
“This is a Band-Aid, a token reaction to a distressingly long string of atrocities at the prison,” said Corrado (R-40). “Dozens of helpless female inmates were assaulted, more than 30 guards and employees were suspended, the feds are investigating, and the best the DOC can come up with are some body cameras. The Corrections Commissioner dropped the ball and he must be held accountable.
“These are leadership shortcomings people have discussed for more than a year, and cameras don’t address the problem,” said Corrado. “The victims deserve a more aggressive response, and New Jersey taxpayers expect more character from the Commissioner.”
The facility has often drawn the ire of legislators, advocates, former inmates, and family members of women held at the prison in Clinton. Recently, there have been calls to shut down the facility in response to reports of rampant abuse.
Corrado advocated for Commissioner Marcus Hicks’ resignation, and sponsored a resolution, SJR-108, urging him to step aside or be removed for failure to protect Edna Mahan inmates. It was endorsed 35-0 by the Senate in February.
“The Commissioner has been at the helm while this reprehensible and embarrassing abuse of women was continuing unchecked,” Corrado said. “The lack of accountability, the lack of concern and the lack of action demands no less than his removal from the commissioner’s chair. He needs to pay the price for allowing this horrible situation to spiral out of control.”
Hicks is scheduled to appear Thursday morning before the Assembly Judiciary Committee to discuss extensive allegations and needed reforms.
“He’s rolling out this symbolic reform in advance of a legislative hearing,” said Corrado. “It is one small step when a giant leap is called for. It hardly makes up for a year of inaction.”