After a 75 page report based on 20 hours of “exceedingly violent and disturbing video” Governor Murphy has ordered New Jersey’s Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women shut down and NJ Department of Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks has resigned. Isn't it high time we stopped acting “surprised,” “shocked” and “stunned” and acknowledged that there is something profoundly corrosive and dangerous about the culture of corrections officers?
Reports of abuse, violence and neglect, not only in correctional facilities but in detention centers throughout New Jersey and the US are widespread. In this most recent case “34 staff members and 10 corrections officers“ were charged in the violent beating of women inmates, clearly not a case of “one bad apple” but a thorough and systematically abusive system which dehumanizes people who are convicted of crimes, no matter how large or small.
Such violence will continue, behind steel plated doors and stone walls, until we openly acknowledge that a significant portion of corrections officers are encultured into a toxic system of misogynist, racist, violent and sadistic behavior they can freely practice on an imprisoned populace. Until their screening, training, education, socializing and evaluating are completely altered we can expect a lot more “shocked” responses to the exposure of these horrific but common occurrences.