MIL-OSI Security: Bayside State Prison Corrections Officer Admits Violating Inmates’ Civil Rights

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Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) State Crime Alerts (c)

NEWARK, N.J. – A former corrections officer at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey, today admitted to depriving two inmates of their civil rights by failing to intervene when the inmates were being assaulted and suffered bodily injury, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Joshua Hand, 34, of Millville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Karen M. Williams in Camden federal court to an information charging him with depriving two inmates of their right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

In December 2019, while working as a corrections officer, Hand was inside the officers’ quarters within the kitchen area of Bayside State Prison when the first victim was summoned to that room. Shortly after that victim entered the officer’s quarters, the exit door was blocked and in the presence of Hand, the victim was assaulted simultaneously by several inmates and taken down to the floor. Hand watched and did not attempt to intervene when multiple inmates pinned and restrained the victim on the floor while other inmates delivered multiple punches and other blows to the victim’s torso, arms, and legs. Hand did not report this assault to his supervisors or medical personnel despite knowing that he was required to do so. 

Later that day, a second victim was in the officers’ quarters at the prison with Hand and another corrections officer. Without provocation, the other corrections officer struck the second victim in the legs multiple times with a broomstick. During the assault of second victim, Hand remained within arm’s reach of the assault and had a reasonable opportunity to intervene but did not attempt to do so. Once again, Hand did not report this assault to his supervisors or medical personnel. 

Violating 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. Sentencing is scheduled for July 2, 2024.

U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the FBI Atlantic City Resident Agency, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James E. Dennehy in Newark, with the investigation. He also thanked the New Jersey Department of Corrections, under the direction of Commissioner Victoria Kuhn, for its assistance in the investigation.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas S. Kearney of the Special Prosecutions Division in Newark.

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