Hicks resigns as New Jersey Department of Corrections commissioner

(The Center Square) – New Jersey Department of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks has resigned in the wake of an ongoing scandal centered on the treatment of inmates at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Union Township.

The news comes a day after Gov. Phil Murphy announced his plan to close the facility, saying it has “a long history of abusive incidents.”

“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. “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.”

Hicks’ resignation is effective June 18. Victoria Kuhn, the Department of Corrections’ current chief of staff, will serve as acting commissioner.

“The resignation of Commissioner Hicks only addresses half of the leadership failure in the Murphy administration that allowed the abuses and sexual assaults at Edna Mahan to continue for too long,” state Sen. Kristin Corrado, R-Totowa, said in a statement.

The governor’s closure announcement coincided with releasing an investigative report from former State Comptroller and federal prosecutor Matt Boxer into Jan. 11 “cell extractions” and an allegation of sexual assault at the facility.

In recent months, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers had been pushing to impeach Hicks. The state also reached a $20.8 million settlement with current and former inmates at Edna Mahan.

In April 2020, the United States Department of Justice said it believed the New Jersey Department of Corrections “fails to keep prisoners at Edna Mahan safe from sexual abuse by staff.”

When pressed for more details during a Monday news briefing, Murphy said, “No news to make on leadership, but I’m very disturbed by the report.”

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