‘Cruel and unusual punishment’ — NJ Corrections Officer Admits Violating Inmates’ Civil Rights
A corrections officer from Millville who worked at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg now faces up to a decade behind bars after admitting to violating the civil rights of inmates under his watch.
On Friday, 42-year-old John Makos pleaded guilty in Camden federal court to conspiring with others to deprive inmates of their right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger's office says during most of 2019 while working as a corrections officer,
Makos conspired with others at Bayside State Prison to assault and punish certain inmates in a cruel and arbitrary manner by using excessive force that caused physical injury and pain to the victims. Makos and others agreed to physically assault victims for actual and perceived violations of the prison’s rules and customs, which on occasion resulted in the inmates suffering bodily injury. These assaults took place while the inmates were under Makos’ supervision and in areas of the Prison’s kitchen that were out of sight of institutional surveillance cameras.
As an example, authorities say in December 2019, several inmates pinned a victim down to the floor and then punched that victim more than two dozen times. Makos watched the assault, did not attempt to stop it, and then did not report the incident to supervisors or medical personnel.
Conspiring to violate the civil rights of others carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison with a $250,000 fine.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 23rd.
Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI Atlantic City Resident Agency with the investigation along with the New Jersey Department of Corrections for its assistance.