Public Notices and Press Releases

NJDOC Announces New Women's Correctional Facility in Chesterfield Township

Modern, trauma-informed facility to replace Edna Mahan Correctional Facility

Chesterfield Township, N.J. – On June 13, 2024, the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) announced a significant milestone in the development of a new women's correctional facility with the release of an open solicitation for design consultation. This step is crucial for providing the necessary architectural and engineering services for the project, which aims to create a modern, trauma-informed environment with centralized services and ample program space.

Key Details:

  • Who: New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC).
  • What: Announcement of the next phase for a new women's correctional facility.
  • When: Announced on June 13, 2024.
  • Where: Chesterfield Township, Burlington County.
  • Why: To replace the outdated Edna Mahan Correctional Facility (EMCF) and provide a more rehabilitative environment for women.
  • How: Through a collaborative effort among various state departments and an open solicitation for design consultation.

"This moment marks a significant step in developing an enhanced, safe, and secure facility that meets the needs and expectations of a modern correctional facility," stated Commissioner Victoria L. Kuhn, Esq. "The construction of a purpose-built correctional facility will provide normative conditions that are conducive to rehabilitation, reentry, and improved safety and security for the incarcerated women, staff, and the community."

Project Background:

Governor Phil Murphy announced the closure of EMCF in June 2021, committing to a transformative approach to women's incarceration in New Jersey. The closure is anticipated to save approximately $166 million in future capital and maintenance costs. The new facility will be located on existing NJDOC property in Chesterfield Township, adjacent to the Garden State Correctional Facility and the former Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility.

The 33-acre site was selected for its central location, accessibility via major roadways, and proximity to resources, which will facilitate family visits, staffing efficiencies, and community connections.

With support from stakeholders and those close to corrections and incarcerated persons, the NJDOC has made monumental strides in improving the safety of, as well as services and culture for, incarcerated women,” said Helena Tomé, Assistant Commissioner of the NJDOC’s Division of Women’s Services.

Funding and Planning:

In FY2024, $90 million was appropriated from the Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund to initiate the project. Over the past nine months, a collaborative inter-agency working group, including partners from the Division of Property Management and Construction (DPMC), the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Community Affairs (DCA), and the NJDOC, has been advancing the project through its planning and building stages.

The Edna Mahan Board of Trustees and the incarcerated persons we have worked with over the past several years are confident in the Department’s valiant efforts. We anticipate these modern, normative settings will enable the incarcerated women to grow personally and build dignity and diligence in themselves in preparation for when they return to their communities,” said Bonnie Kerness, Program Director of American Friends Service Committee Prison Watch.

Goals of the New Facility:

The new correctional facility will focus on trauma-informed care and normative design. It aims to provide a rehabilitative environment with centralized services and ample space for programs and amenities that support the well-being and rehabilitation of incarcerated women.

The NJDOC's announcement marks a significant step towards creating a more humane and effective correctional environment for women in New Jersey, aligning with broader state efforts to reform and improve the criminal justice system.

For more information and updates on the project, interested parties can visit the NJDOC website or contact the department directly.

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