NJ prison officer admits ‘cruel and unusual’ brutal beatings

A correctional officer at a South Jersey prison has admitted his role in violating inmates’ civil rights, including brutal beatings that went unreported.

John Makos of Millville pleaded guilty in federal court in Camden on Friday, US Attorney Philip Sellinger said.

Makos, 42, said he never reported such attacks involving “unreasonable and excessive force” at Bayside State Prison in Cumberland County, where he worked in 2019.

In some cases, victims at Leesburg Prison were physically restrained while being assaulted, according to federal court filings.

Makos said he and others agreed to physically attack victims in retaliation “for actual and perceived violations of prison rules and customs.”

While the inmates were under Makos’ supervision, assaults took place in areas of the prison kitchen that were blind spots in the prison’s security camera system.

In one incident in December 2019, Makos observed and did not try to stop a group of inmates from pushing another detainee to the ground, where she was beaten 25 times.

He also did not report the beatings to supervisors or medical staff.

Charged with conspiring with others to deprive inmates of their right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, Makos faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a large fine.

He was due to be sentenced in March 2023.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]

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