A pair of federal prison guards in Florida pleaded guilty to beating an inmate and lying to cover it up, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced Wednesday.
Former Bureau of Prisons Corrections Officer William Houghton, 32, pleaded guilty to violating the civil rights of an inmate by pummeling the prisoner on March 22, 2014. He hit him repeatedly in the head and face, “causing him injury,” according to the DOJ. Houghton also pleaded guilty to submitting two false reports to cover up the incident.
Fellow guard Eddie Rodas-Castro, 32, didn’t attack the inmate but tried to help Houghton conceal the incident. The two guards claimed in reports the inmate had attacked Houghton. He pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying official reports.
Both men were corrections officers at the Coleman Correctional Facility in Coleman, Fla.
“Conduct by corrections officers who abuse their power to violate the civil rights of those in their custody and lie about their actions undermines our criminal justice system,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the DOJ’s civil rights division, said in a statement. “The Justice Department is committed to holding officers who engage in such criminal acts accountable.”
Houghton faces up to three years in prison and Rodas-Castro faces up to one year in prison. The sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.
Their story is just another of many reports of prison guards abusing inmates. In one case, a video captured a jail guard shattering the teeth of a wheelchair-bound inmate. In a different case, two female inmates alleged eight women’s facility prison guards at New York’s Rikers Island participated in systematic sexual abuse of inmates.
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