NJ corrections officer admits lying about ‘brutal and vicious’ assault on youth
TRENTON — A former senior corrections officer at one of the state’s youth prison facilities in Burlington County has admitted to hitting an inmate in the head twice while the youth’s hands were cuffed behind him.
Jason Parks, of Gibbstown, then submitted a fake incident report and convinced another officer to help him cover up his actions, according to state Attorney General Matthew Platkin, who called the assault “brutal and vicious.”
The 43-year-old Parks was an officer at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in Bordentown during the February 2019 incident, in which the youth inmate was not only handcuffed but also restrained by two other officers.
On Dec. 5, Parks pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy to commit official misconduct in Burlington County Superior Court.
Parks lied in an incident report and said he slapped the detained youth in the face, to stop him from spitting.
In reality, Parks had struck him twice from behind, knocking the inmate’s head into a wall, as seen in surveillance video from the facility and confirmed by witness statements.
Parks also directed another officer to write a report that followed his own made up story.
In his plea, Parks admitted to conspiring with that officer to commit Official Misconduct and violate the DOC’s rules and policies.
When sentenced in March 2023, Parks could face up to a decade in prison.
Under his plea deal, Parks also agreed to a ban on future state public employment.
“Correctional Police Officers take an oath to maintain and secure the facilities where they are assigned,” Platkin said in a written statement.
He continued “The actions of the officer were not only unjustified and excessive, they were brutal and vicious. We will continue to hold law enforcement officers accountable to their promise to protect all New Jerseyans – including those in state custody.”
“Part of the Department of Corrections’ mission is running facilities that are not only secure but that also treat those in custody humanely, and this assaultive behavior will not be tolerated,” said Thomas Eicher, Executive Director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability.
“To make matters worse, Parks falsified documents and dragged a fellow correctional police officer into filing a false and misleading report,” Eicher said.