Inmate escapes New Jersey scandal-filled women’s prison

UPDATE: Clinton Township Police said Sunday night the inmate was captured and returned to jail.

Police were looking for an inmate who escaped from the state’s only women’s prison on Sunday.

Hunterdon County prosecutors said the woman was reported missing on Sunday from a minimum security unit at Edna Mahan Correctional Institution.

Officials said the inmate was seen near Exit 13 of Route 78 in Hunterdon County. Authorities did not give more details about the escape.

The escaped inmate is Jessica C. Graham, who was sentenced in June to five years in prison for third degree criminal mischief involving damage from a fire in excess of $ 2,000 in 2018 in County D ‘. Union, according to Corrections Department records. She would be eligible for parole as early as February.

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Graham’s known aliases include Jessica Szabo and Jessica Toussaint, according to correctional records.

She is 5 feet 5 inches, 135 pounds with brown hair and black eyes.

The Murphy administration plans to close this prison after federal prosecutors and investigators revealed common and pervasive sexual and physical abuse of women in custody by correctional officers and staff.

More than a dozen prison staff have been criminally charged in recent years with violence against women – most recently this month, when Tyrell Harris-McLaughlin, 28, was charged with assault sexual and official misconduct that allegedly took place in September.

After the series of sexual abuse arrests in previous years, 10 more police officers were charged. Several women were seriously injured in January when police forcibly removed them from their cells.

The scandals sparked bipartisan outrage against Corrections Commissioner Marcus Hicks, who ultimately resigned under pressure in June. Governor Phil Murphy never publicly criticized Hicks, but announced the drastic decision to close the prison.

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