Valerie Vainieri Huttle: I Raised Concerns About Sgt. Bethea to DOC in August

"In August, I contacted the Department of Corrections to share concerns about Sergeant Amir Bethea, a Corrections Officer at Edna Mahan. Apparently, no action was taken.

Just recently, that same officer, Sgt. Bethea allegedly led a group of officers through the facility where they beat six women. Sgt. Bethea now faces two counts of second-degree official misconduct and two counts of third-degree tampering with public records.

The history of abuse at Edna Mahan is systemic, but what happened a few weeks ago might have been prevented if the Department of Corrections had acted and properly investigated Sgt. Bethea.

I am once again calling for Corrections Commissioner Hicks to be put on leave or to resign. New Jersey must get serious about fixing the toxic culture of abuse and mistreatment in our corrections system. Prisoners are still people, everyone deserves to be treated humanely and with dignity. The Department of Corrections must take its role seriously in properly vetting and investigating officers."