Embattled New Jersey corrections commissioner to resign

The exterior of Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in New Jersey.

The exterior of Edna Mahan Correctional Facility in New Jersey. (NJ Spotlight News)

New Jersey’s embattled corrections commissioner announced his resignation Tuesday, a day after Gov. Phil Murphy said the state would shutter its long-troubled and only women’s prison.

Marcus Hicks had faced sharp criticism in recent months from several lawmakers who called for his dismissal, citing his overall job performance and his handling of problems at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Clinton. Ten guards face criminal charges brought by the state attorney general stemming from what he said was a violent attack on women at the prison in January.

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Hicks, who will leave office June 18, had defended his tenure, noting that he added body cameras at Edna Mahan and hired more women on staff, plus other changes. He also retained a consultant to help turn around the prison.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to have served the Murphy Administration and the people of New Jersey as commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections for the past three years,” Hicks said in a statement issued Tuesday. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done and wish our staff and individuals under our care well as the department continues its mission to ensure safety and promote rehabilitation.”

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Murphy, a Democrat, announced his intention to close Edna Mahan on Monday, after reviewing a new 75-page investigative report he commissioned on the January attack by mostly male prison guards on female inmates.

Victoria Kuhn, current chief of staff for the Departments of Corrections will serve as acting commissioner.

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