Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women

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Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women
Location30 Route 513
Clinton, New Jersey
StatusOpen
Security classMixed
Capacity709
Opened1913
Managed byNew Jersey Department of Corrections

Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women (formerly the Clinton Correctional Facility for Women)[1] is a prison facility for women of the state of New Jersey Department of Corrections, located in Union Township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey,[2][3] near Clinton.[4] Its official abbreviation is EMCFW. The facility was named for Edna Mahan (b. 1900, pronounced Mann), one of the first female correctional superintendents in the U.S.

The current administrator is William Hauck; he has served in that position for four years. As of February 2009, the prison held 950 inmates in maximum, medium, and minimum security sections. As of June 2021, the prison housed 378 inmates.[5]

According to the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Edna Mahan "provides custody and treatment programs for female offenders ages 16 and older. The facility features the Puppies Behind Bars program, in which inmates train guide dogs for the blind, among other unique ventures. EMCFW has a drug and alcohol treatment unit as well as Bureau of State Use Industries shops specializing in clothing and tele-response/data entry."

Escape[edit]

On November 2, 1979, JoAnne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur (born JoAnne Deborah Byron; July 16, 1947, sometimes referred to by her legal married surname Chesimard), while in prison serving a life sentence for the 1973 murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster, escaped from the facility, aided by three members of the Black Liberation Army. Two officers were taken hostage as part of the escape and were released unharmed.[6][7] Charged with assisting in her escape were Mutulu Shakur (no relation) and Silvia Baraldini. In part for his role in the event, Mutulu was named on July 23, 1982, as the 380th addition to the FBI's list of Most Wanted Fugitives, where he remained for the next four years until his capture in 1986. In 2013, Assata Shakur was placed on the FBI's list of Most Wanted Terrorists, and she is believed to be living in Cuba under political asylum.

Sexual misconduct report[edit]

In April 2020 the United States Department of Justice released a report which cited the "open secret" of sexual misconduct in the prison.[8][9]

Incidents[edit]

In 1994, Kevin Brodie was fired and prosecuted for having a sexual relationship with an inmate/parolee.[10]

In 1995, William Jimenez stayed in a hotel with an inmate during a leave of absence. He was later fired and prosecuted.[10]

In the summer of 1998, David Clappison entered a guilty plea to sexual assault after admitting to having had sexual relations with an inmate.[10]

Robert Scannicchio was fired for vacationing with a former inmate in 1998. It was also reported that they became “unduly familiar” with one another while she was incarcerated.[10]

In the spring of 1998, Jeffrey Barr was fired and prosecuted for having sexual contact with an inmate.

Stewart Sella was accused of sexually assaulting Jacqueline Haggenmiller and Tammy Davis ten times between 1997 and 1999. In 1998, Haggenmiller reported rapes and sexual assaults against her by Sella. After a formal investigation, Sella was fired and charged in 2000.[10]

Tammy Davis initially reported her allegations against Sella to Regina Dozier, almost two years prior to Haggenmiller’s reports. Dozier was later investigated and fired for covering up Davis’ allegations. Dozier was also charged with official misconduct and improper sexual contact after she allegedly had sexual contact with four inmates at the prison.[10][11]

Ralph Grier was sentenced to five years in prison for taking photos of an inmate while she was “flashing” the camera. It was verbally agreed upon before the taking of the photos between Grier and the inmate that she would receive $150 and a transfer to a new cell. Instead of this, she received $30 and no transfer. Before the incident, Grier would often give the inmate cigarettes, candy, gum, and, on one occasion, a pair of earrings.[12]

In 2008, James Gallichio was charged with second-degree misconduct and sexual assault after an unidentified inmate came forwarded and told investigators that they had a “mutual sexual relationship” while she was incarcerated, according to a probable cause affidavit. Gallichio smuggled a phone into the facility for the inmate and, between November 2007 and March 2008, the two spoke on the phone 894 times. Since most of the phone calls were made over a recorded line, it was easy for investigators to discover their professed love for one another. Also, it was stated that Gallichio smuggled in the “wand”, code for pregnancy test, to the inmate, and that “tells you something”, according to court papers. Gallichio is currently serving a 12-year sentence for armed robbery.[13][14]

On October 31, 2016, Joel Herscap entered a guilty plea for the following charges: two counts of second-degree official misconduct, two counts of second-degree sexual assault, and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact. It was reported that he was trading tobacco products in exchange for sex.[15]

Jason Mays was arrested in September 2016 and was later found guilty of sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, as well as official misconduct. One of the inmates with whom Mays performed intercourse testified during his trial. She said she only did it because her parole date was coming up and didn’t want another infraction. She also stated “It was an officer versus an inmate… they could take my release date away from me in a blink of an eye.”[16]

Ahnwar Dixon was arrested on November 19, 2016, and was later indicted on one count of second-degree sexual assault, three counts of second-degree official misconduct, five counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count of second-degree pattern of official misconduct.[17]

Brian Ambroise was arrested in October 2016 and is set to face charges of sexual assault and official misconduct. It was reported that Ambroise engaged in a “pattern” of official misconduct.[18]

Thomas Seguine was arrested on February 19, 2017, and sentenced on May 1, 2017. He pleaded guilty to official misconduct after authorities accused him of having sex with an inmate. He was sentenced to three years in prison.[19]

Joel Mercado was indicted on August 17, 2017, on two counts of official misconduct and two counts of sexual assault. It was reported that Mercado had sexual relationships with two separate inmates.[20]

On February 2, 2018, Ronald Coleman Jr. was arrested and charged with seven counts of official misconduct, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of conspiracy to commit sexual assault, one count of pattern of official misconduct, and three counts of criminal sexual conduct.[21]

Erick Melgar has allegations sexual assault allegations against him by six different inmates. Melgar was fired from his job as a correctional officer in 2010. On March 22, 2017, Melgar reportedly paid the six inmates $75,000. Melgar was never officially charged with a crime. The head of the Edna Mahan during the time of the internal investigation stated that Melgar should have been criminally charged.[22][23] [24][25][16]

A 2020 report by the Justice Department mentioned that sexual abuse had been rampant at the facility for decades. In mid-2020, press reports indicated that some inmates were forced to trade sex for toilet paper.[26]

In 2021 31 correctional staff members were suspended.[27]

As a result of the numerous incidents and allegations, the governor of New Jersey announced that the prison would be closed.[28]

Music & film[edit]

The facility played host to The Rolling Thunder Revue Tour on December 7, 1975, headed by Bob Dylan.

The 2004 documentary Freedom Road by Lorna A. Johnson, depicting the lives of three inmates, was filmed at Edna Mahan. Another documentary, Going Home, was also shot at Edna Mahan and was based on Steven Kalafer's observation of the Life Skills Academy program.

Notable inmates[edit]

  • Kathleen Dorsett – convicted of the 2010 murder of her ex-husband
  • Diane Downs – convicted of the 1983 murder of her daughter and attempted murder of her other children; transferred from Oregon after escape
  • Amy Locane – original cast member of Melrose Place; convicted of 2010 vehicular homicide and assault by auto[29]
  • Michelle Lodzinski – convicted of the 1991 murder of her five-year-old son
  • Melanie McGuire – convicted of the 2004 murder of her husband; serving life without parole[30]
  • Assata Shakur (formerly JoAnne Chesimard) – convicted of the 1973 murder of a New Jersey State Trooper; escaped in 1979
  • leslie Nelson convicted of the murder of two police officers
  1. ^ Natoli, Cori Anne; Nakashian, Arpie (25 October 1998). "Sentencing looms for Drexler". www.injersey.com. Archived from the original on 8 September 1999.
  2. ^ "Edna Mahan Driving Directions" (PDF). New Jersey Department of Corrections. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 January 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  3. ^ "Union township, Hunterdon County, New Jersey." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on December 1, 2010.[dead link]
  4. ^ "Clinton town, New Jersey." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on December 1, 2010.
  5. ^ "In stunning move, Murphy to close scandal-ridden Edna Mahan state prison for women". 7 June 2021.
  6. ^ Hanley, Robert (3 November 1979). "Miss Chesimard Flees Jersey Prison, Helped By 3 Armed 'Visitors'". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  7. ^ Churchill, Ward and James Vander Wall. 2002. The Cointelpro papers: documents from the FBI's secret wars against dissent in the United States. South End Press. ISBN 0-89608-648-8. p. 308
  8. ^ Sullivan, S. P. (14 April 2020). "Sexual abuse of inmates at N.J. women's prison is an 'open secret,' federal inquiry finds". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  9. ^ Condon, Jenny-Brooke (21 April 2020). "Time's up. Murphy must accept responsibility for sexual abuse at N.J.'s women's prison | Opinion". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "Heggenmiller v. Edna Mahan Correctional Institution for Women" (PDF). United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 11 April 2005.
  11. ^ "The Courier-News from Bridgewater, New Jersey · Page 39". Newspapers.com. 19 September 2003.
  12. ^ "State of New Jersey v. Ralph W. Grier". law.justia.com. 5 September 2006.
  13. ^ Hepp, Rick (15 April 2008). "Gun search at N.J. prison comes up empty". Police1. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  14. ^ "State of New Jersey v. James J. Gallichio". law.justia.com. 6 October 2016.
  15. ^ Graziano, Sallie (26 May 2016). "Kitchen worker allegedly traded cigarettes for sex at women's prison". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  16. ^ a b Sullivan, S. P. (9 May 2018). "Officer at N.J.'s troubled women's prison convicted for sexually abusing 2 inmates". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  17. ^ Harris, Taylor Tiamoyo (19 January 2018). "Corrections officer facing new assault charges after 3rd victim identified". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  18. ^ Sullivan, S. P. (5 October 2017). "New charges in sex abuse scandal at N.J. women's prison". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  19. ^ Sullivan, S. P. (1 May 2017). "Former officer at N.J. women's prison gets 3 years over sex abuse claims". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  20. ^ Sullivan, S. P. (17 August 2017). "Another officer at N.J. women's prison charged with sex abuse". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  21. ^ Muscavage, Nick (3 February 2018). "Edna Mahan guard charged with sexual assault". MyCentralJersey.com (in American English). Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  22. ^ Sullivan, S. P. (22 March 2017). "N.J. corrections officer accused of sex abuse at women's prison to pay inmates $75K". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  23. ^ Sullivan, S. P. "Locked Up, Fighting Back". nj.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  24. ^ Muscavage, Nick (22 February 2018). "Edna Mahan inmates testify about sexual assault allegations before state Senate". MyCentralJersey.com (in American English). Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  25. ^ Foster, David (12 October 2016). "NJ reports only 2 'substantiated' rapes at prisons since 2012". trentonian.com. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  26. ^ Heyboer, Kelly; Livio, Susan K. (2 July 2020). "Forced to have sex in exchange for toilet paper: Ex-inmates detail abuse by guards in N.J. women's prison". nj.com. New Jersey Advance Media. Retrieved 3 July 2020.
  27. ^ Tully, Tracey (2021-01-28). "31 Guards Suspended at a Women's Prison Plagued by Sexual Violence". The New York Times. Retrieved 2021-01-30.
  28. ^ "In stunning move, Murphy to close scandal-ridden Edna Mahan state prison for women". 7 June 2021.
  29. ^ "Archived copy". State of New Jersey Department of Corrections. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-09.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  30. ^ Moriarty, Thomas; Everett, Rebecca (24 June 2018). "N.J.'s most infamous killers behind bars: Then and now". nj.com.


Coordinates: 40°37′45″N 74°56′04″W / 40.62917°N 74.93444°W / 40.62917; -74.93444