New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday he plans to shut down the state's only women's prison after reviewing a new investigative report he commissioned to look into a January attack by mostly male prison guards on female inmates.
“I am deeply disturbed and disgusted by the horrific attacks that took place on January 11. Individuals in state custody deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and the officers involved in this incident, both directly and indirectly, abused their power to send a message that they were in charge,” Murphy said.
The January events at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women have led to criminal charges against 10 guards — eight men and two women — by the state attorney general, whose investigation is still underway.
Attorneys for some of the guards have said their clients will fight the charges and plead not guilty.
The 75-page report is based on interviews with some officers as well as Department of Corrections Commissioner Marcus, and the corrections ombudsperson, videos, and 21,000 documents and emails.
It offers details about the Jan. 11 and 12 attacks on what Attorney General Gurbir Grewal called an attack on at least six inmates.
Among its findings are that guards used excessive force on inmates and filed false reports after removing inmates from their cells. The staff also failed to bar male guards from viewing female inmates during strip searches, in violation of policy.
Murphy said shuttering the prison could take years and that he would work with lawmakers to address closing it during this year's budget process. Murphy, a Democrat, said he wants to send the roughly 370 inmates there to other or a new facility.