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Former MDOC officer pleads guilty to using excessive force on inmate

East Mississippi Correctional Facility (Photo courtesy of MDOC)

A former Mississippi corrections officer has pleaded guilty to using excessive force against an inmate, involving the use of a dangerous weapon and resulting in bodily injury.

On July 11, 2019, Jessica Hill of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) willfully deprived inmate L.C. of the Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment when she struck L.C. with a canister and repeatedly punched L.C. in the head even though the inmate 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,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said. “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.”

Hill entered a guilty plea to U.S. District Judge Tom Lee on Thursday, July 27, and is currently facing a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

“This defendant has now confessed her abusive conduct.” U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca for the Southern District of Mississippi said. “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.”

The FBI Jackson Field Office is investigating the case. Hill’s sentencing is scheduled for October 25.

“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,” Acting Special Agent in Charge Maher Dimachkie of the FBI Jackson Field Office stated. “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.”

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