Credit: U.S. Attorney’s Office – Southern District of Mississippi news release
A former corrections officer with the Mississippi Department of Corrections has pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Tom Lee for using excessive force against an inmate, involving the use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury.
According to court documents and information presented in court, on July 11, 2019, Jessica Hill, a corrections officer at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, willfully deprived inmate L.C. of the Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment when the defendant, aiding and abetting others, struck L.C. with a cannister and repeatedly punched L.C. in the head even though L.C. was not resisting. Hill continued to strike L.C., who was lying on the ground in the fetal position, until fellow prison staff intervened to stop Hill’s assault.
“Prison officials who engage in such abuses of power endanger inmates and fellow staff members and will be held accountable for their actions,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Using violent physical force as punishment will not be tolerated. The Justice Department will continue to vindicate the Eighth Amendment right of prisoners to be free from cruel and unusual punishment at the hands of prison officials.”
“This defendant has now confessed her abusive conduct.” said U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca for the Southern District of Mississippi. “She and all others entrusted with the protection of society must conduct themselves with self-discipline and under the law. Clearly, she violated her oath, and now will be held accountable.”
“Our citizens serving time for crimes committed against the public deserve the safety and protection from harm by those officials who are charged with their care,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Maher Dimachkie of the FBI Jackson Field Office. “Ms. Hill’s blatant disregard for the rights afforded under the Eighth Amendment is a disservice to those in the penal system, the corrections officers who take pride in their profession. The FBI remains committed to protecting all citizens we serve.
Hill faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Her sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 25.
The FBI Jackson Field Office is investigating the case.
Trial Attorney Eric Peffley of the Civil Rights Division’s Criminal Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenda Haynes for the Southern District of Mississippi are prosecuting the case.