A corrections officer at a prison in South Jersey has admitted to his role in violating the civil rights of inmates, involving brutal beat-downs that went unreported.
John Makos, of Millville, pleaded guilty in Camden federal court on Friday, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced.
The 42-year-old Makos said he never reported such attacks of “unreasonable and excessive force” at Bayside State Prison in Cumberland County, where he worked in 2019.
In some cases, victims at the Leesburg prison were physically restrained while being assaulted, according to federal court papers.
Makos said he and others agreed to physically assault victims in retaliation “for actual and perceived violations of the prison’s rules and customs.”
Assaults took place while the inmates were under Makos’ supervision, in areas of the prison’s kitchen that were blind spots in the prison’s surveillance camera system.
In one incident in December 2019, Makos watched and did not try to stop a group of inmates from pinning another incarcerated person to the floor, where he was punched 25 times.
He also then did not report the beating to supervisors or medical personnel.
On the charge of conspiring with others to deprive inmates of their right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, Makos faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a hefty fine.
He was slated for sentencing in March 2023.
Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at email@example.com
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