A corrections officer at Bayside State Prison admitted that he and others physically assaulted inmates for violations, even ones that were fabricated.
John Makos, 42, of Millville, pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiring with others to deprive inmates of their right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, U.S. Attorney Philip Sellinger announced Friday.
Inmates under Makos’ supervision suffered bodily injury during some of the assaults, which were for actual and perceived violations of the prison’s rules and customs, according to information in the case. The incidents happened from at least April through December of 2019.
The assaults happened in areas of the prison’s kitchen out of sight of institutional surveillance cameras.
Makos watched Dec. 7, 2019, as multiple inmates pinned a man to the floor, and punched him approximately 25 times.
Makos did not step in nor did he report the assault.
No other officers were named.
In one instance, an inmate at the Cumberland County prison was made to pull down his pants and was beaten on his bare buttocks with a ruler, according to the complaint.
The beating was so hard that the ruler broke, leaving a mark on the man. He later was allegedly made to show his injuries to other inmates.
Witnesses also told investigators that they saw a shoe mark on one of the victims at least once, and believed his ribs were broken.
Conspiring to violate the civil rights of others carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum potential fine of the greater of $250,000, twice the gross amount of pecuniary gain that any person derived from the offense, or twice the gross amount of pecuniary loss that any person suffered from the offense, whichever is greatest.
Makos is scheduled to be sentenced March 23.