Violation of Incarcerated Women’s Civil Rights in New Jersey
In March 2007 the New Jersey Department of Corrections transferred approximately 40 women from the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, New Jersey's sole women's prison, to the New Jersey State Prison. NJSP is a maximum-security men's prison holding approximately 1,800 male prisoners.
As a result of this transfer, the women were stripped of programming and services appropriate to their needs and were subjected to lock-down conditions virtually identical to those in disciplinary segregation. They were subjected to conditions far more oppressive and restrictive than those of male prisoners, including confinement in their cells for up to 22 hours a day, denial of basic movement within the prison, placement in a pen when given time outdoors, and denial of access to the prison law library, the prison school, and basic hygiene items. Under these conditions, the women's mental and physical health rapidly deteriorated, fights broke out, and suicide attempts occurred.
On December 12, 2007 the ACLU filed a civil rights lawsuit against the NJ Department of Corrections.