photo NJDOC Commissioner Marcus Hicks
the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Trenton NJ, Family attorney and Assembly challenger Claire Swift, who served as a New Jersey Deputy Attorney General representing DYFS, called on the Assembly today to immediately advance the impeachment of NJDOC Commissioner Marcus Hicks following his unacceptable performance before the Assembly on Monday.
Under Hicks’s watch, a culture of rampant sexual and physical abuse perpetrated by guards pervaded the state’s lone women’s prison, Edna Mahan Correctional Facility. While dozens of prison officials have been placed on leave, suspended, or resigned in the aftermath of the scandal, the politically-appointed Commissioner Hicks has inexplicably remained on the job.
A unanimous vote in the State Senate called on Commissioner Hicks to resign in February. The Assembly drafted a bipartisan impeachment resolution over 70 days ago but the measure has so far been suppressed in the State & Local Government Committee, chaired by Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo (D-2).
“After watching Hicks’s testimony and answers to the Assembly on Monday, it is abundantly clear that he must be removed from a decision-making role as soon as possible,” Swift said. “He avoided answering key questions, provided no new solutions, and even came unprepared with incorrect budget numbers. What happened at Edna Mahan is perverse and appalling but nothing will change unless the leadership is held accountable.”
Pressed on how he would address the systemic rot within the facility that allowed for a coverup to occur, Hicks admitted that his plan ‘is exactly what we’ve been doing’. Hicks’s unconcerned response was even challenged in the closing moments of the hearing by the Democratic Chair who insisted Hicks do something to ‘change the momentum of what’s going on’.
“As a former DAG, I was tasked with protecting Atlantic County’s abused and neglected children. I cannot fathom how Commissioner Hicks, who oversees a similarly vulnerable population, could say his department is ‘on the right track’,” Swift added. “It is time to put politics aside, remove Hicks from exercising more poor judgment, and do what is best for the victims.”