Random Notes on NJ Government

Cumberland Juvenile Detention guards accused of making boys fight for their entertainment.

In a lawsuit filed on March 29, 2016, a twenty-year old Middlesex County man said that he was made to fight other inmates “for the enjoyment and entertainment of Cumberland County Detention Center guards” when he was 15 and incarcerated at the Center.

Edward Scanlon, IV, said that he “suffered serious injuries” at the Sunnyslope Drive, Bridgeton facility and claimed that guards and jail officials subjected him to a “blatant abuse of power and authority and inhumane and punitive treatment.”  He claimed that he was forced “to fight other inmates as [the guards] sat and watch” and that the guards “even tripped [him] several times.”

Named in Scanlon’s lawsuit are Valeria Lawson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission; Felix Mickens, the Commission’s Deputy Executive Director of Operations; Detention Center Warden Robert Balicki; Detention Center heads Veronica Surrency and Michael Baruzza and several “John Doe” defendants.

The lawsuit was originally filed in Cumberland County Superior Court but was later transferred to the United States District Court where it bears Case No. 1:16-cv-04465.

By John Paff

Chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project