NEW JERSEY – The New Jersey Department of Corrections received its initial allotment of body-worn cameras as part of a first-of-its-kind pilot program for the State correctional system. In May 2020, the Department announced that the pilot program would be funded in-part by a $250,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The pilot program will initially launch at Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women and subsequently at Northern State Prison.
Funding also supports the development of policies, reviewed and approved by the Department of Justice, as a condition of the grant and related training. Pending the pilot program’s success and future availability of funding, the Department intends to roll the program out across other facilities.
“The NJDOC partnered with the Department of Justice in 2019 to establish the Body-Worn Camera initiative, and it is finally reaching the ability to go live and offer greater oversight, accountability, and security of our facilities,” said Commissioner Marcus O. Hicks, Esq. “The body-worn camera program complements our existing camera surveillance program by serving as a deterrent of inappropriate behavior increasing the safety of the incarcerated population and staff, while supporting reductions in allegations of misconduct, use of force, and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) the law designed to prevent, detect and respond to incidences of sexual abuse and harassment in confinement.”
The body-worn camera pilot program comes on the heels of the Department’s hiring of the nationally recognized criminal justice consulting firm, the Moss Group. The Moss Group provides the Department with technical support in operational practice, policy development, and implementation of identified solutions related to Edna Mahan Correctional Facility.
The Department is also in the process of hiring an Assistant Commissioner of Women’s Services, reporting directly to the Commissioner responsible for ensuring the female population’s needs are met, providing managerial and operational oversight, and coordinating efforts with The Moss