Governor Murphy Announces Closure of Edna Mahan Correctional Facility
MORRISTOWN, NJ - Governor Phil Murphy announced November 1, the first major step in the transformation of New Jersey's correctional approach for women. The 110-year-old Edna Mahan Correctional Facility (EMCF), the only women’s correctional facility in New Jersey, has begun its transition to the more modern Edna Mahan Satellite Unit, marking the completion of its first phase of closure.
The move from the outdated EMCF is a direct response to calls for a more humane, safe, and rehabilitative environment for both inmates and staff.
Commissioner Victoria L. Kuhn added, “The challenges with the aging facility at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility are well documented... the Satellite provides a better living and working environment.”
As a part of this landmark transition, all full minimum incarcerated persons have been shifted to the Edna Mahan Satellite Unit, located on the grounds of the former William H. Fauver Youth Correctional Facility in Clinton Township.
The satellite facility boasts improved living conditions, enhanced educational and social activities, and an environment more conducive to rehabilitation.
The decision to close EMCF came in June 2021, after multiple correctional officers were indicted for conspiracy and misconduct, with the goal to transform incarceration for women in New Jersey.
"The completion of the first phase in this plan moves us closer to the full closure of the facility,” commented Governor Murphy.
The transition also brings a financial benefit, potentially avoiding costs around $166 million that would be required to maintain the old facility.
However, the journey isn't over yet. The EMCF Main physical facility still operates, housing the medium and maximum-security population. Some services will remain at the EMCF Main complex, but the overarching goal is to eventually close it down.
Bonnie Kerness, member of the Edna Mahan Board of Trustees, observed the changes firsthand and said, “After seeing the facility, I know the day-to-day living situation at the Satellite will be an improvement as we move toward a totally new facility in the next few years.”
The Satellite Unit, established in 1991, can accommodate up to 384 persons. It not only offers improved living conditions but introduces a new initiative in New Jersey: the "Honors Dorm", designed to encourage positive behavior and personal growth.
Incarcerated individuals at the Satellite will have comprehensive access to a range of programs and services, including trauma and victim services, medical treatment, and support in mental health and substance use disorders. Furthermore, living experiences at the Satellite will be enhanced with robust recreational activities and more home-like spaces.
The transition is a testament to New Jersey's evolving approach to women’s incarceration, aiming for a system that respects the dignity of its incarcerated individuals while emphasizing rehabilitation and reentry into society.
For detailed information on the transition, planning, and relocation from the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility to the Satellite Unit, click here.