Governor Murphy Announces Closure of Edna Mahan Correctional Facility Full Minimum Units
The first phase of the closure moves all full minimum incarcerated persons to the nearby Edna Mahan Satellite Unit on an interim basis while planning continues for a new female correctional facility. The Edna Mahan Satellite Unit, which is located on the grounds of the former William H. Fauver Youth Correctional Facility in Clinton Township and constructed in 1991, offers more modern housing conditions, a temperature-controlled environment with more natural light, a newly created Honors Dorm, enhanced educational and social activities, sufficient personal living and programming space, and outdoor and passive recreation spaces.
“For two years, our Administration has worked in tandem with our partners in the Legislature and external stakeholders to determine the best way to safely and responsibly close the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. The completion of the first phase in this plan moves us closer to the full closure of the facility,” said Governor Murphy. “The safety and well-being of our incarcerated population is of the utmost importance. As they continue to do the necessary work to rehabilitate their lives, our Administration will continue to work to provide them a safe and secure environment to do so.”
“The challenges with the aging facility at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility are well documented and this partial closure is a critical first step in closing an outdated and deteriorating prison while reimagining the experience for the population and staff,” said Commissioner Victoria L. Kuhn. “While this relocation is temporary until a more modern and purpose-built facility can be constructed, the Satellite provides a better living and working environment with more normative conditions that are conducive to rehabilitation, reentry, and enhanced safety and security.”
Governor Murphy announced the closure of EMCF in June 2021, with plans to transform incarceration for women in New Jersey and relocate the population to a more central location with greater access to major roadways and public transportation. Overall, the closure of EMCF is expected to result in cost avoidance for capital projects of approximately $166 million that would otherwise be necessary to keep the facility functional and ensure its long-term viability.
With the move of the full minimum population to the Satellite Unit, only the EMCF Main physical facility remains open, which houses the medium and maximum-security population. Some limited vocational programs and medical services will remain at the EMCF Main complex.
“This was a necessary and important first step toward leaving the older and unrepairable campus behind and moving into a new era for the women of EMCF,” said Bonnie Kerness, member of the Edna Mahan Board of Trustees. “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 consists of two main buildings, each with a capacity of 192 persons, for a total capacity of 384. The Satellite Unit maintains a current population of approximately 176. In March and July 2022, due to needed repairs at the EMCF Main campus, the initial group of women were moved into Building 1. The final move took place on October 18, with 71 women moving into Building 2 at the Satellite Unit, including 24 women who were chosen to move into the newly created “Honors Dorm.” Honors housing is a new-to-NJDOC initiative to encourage positive behavior, pro-social interaction, and personal growth through incentives like more home-like living spaces and greater privacy.
For the incarcerated population, access to existing programs, including reintegration services and support, religious services, trauma and victim services, medical, mental health, and substance use disorder treatment will be available at the Satellite Unit.
In addition, the day-to-day living experience at the Satellite Unit are more robust, with extensive planned social and recreational activities, including clubs for books, crafts, creative pursuits like drama, writing, painting, and more. Living spaces are more home-like and community-focused, encouraging social interaction and positive relationships. Sports and exercise opportunities include basketball, yoga, outdoor fitness equipment, volleyball, and other activities to encourage positive social interaction as well as physical and mental wellness.
EMCF has been New Jersey’s only correctional facility for women for over a century.
More information on the planning and relocation of the incarcerated population from Edna Mahan Correctional Facility to the Satellite Unit can be found here.