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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Former Tennessee Corrections Officers Sentenced for Civil Rights Violation

WASHINGTON— Harold Hutcheson, a former captain at the Northwest Correctional Complex (NCC), in Tiptonville, Tenn., and Joshua Ryan Jones and Roger Forrester, former officers at NCC, were sentenced today in federal court in Jackson, Tenn., for violating the civil rights of an inmate and then lying about it during the state and federal investigations.   Hutcheson was sentenced to serve eight months in prison and two years of supervised release; Jones was sentenced to serve 10 months in prison and two years of supervised release; and Forrester was sentenced to serve 10 months in prison and two years of supervised release.

           

During their guilty plea, Hutcheson and Jones admitted that on April 15, 2008, while working as at NCC, they used unreasonable force when they repeatedly kicked a handcuffed inmate without provocation.   Hutcheson and Jones agreed that their assault violated the inmate’s constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by law enforcement officers.   Additionally, Hutcheson and Jones admitted that they obstructed justice when he provided false information about the incident to federal investigators.

 

In his guilty plea, Forrester admitted that he used unreasonable force when he repeatedly punched a handcuffed inmate without provocation.   Forrester agreed that his assault violated the inmate’s constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by law enforcement officers.   Additionally, Forrester admitted that he obstructed justice when he provided false information about the incident during the investigation by the Tennessee Department of Corrections.

 

“The power granted to correctional officers so that they can perform their critical public safety duties does not give them free rein to abuse the civil and constitutional rights of inmates under their supervision,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Those officers who abuse their power and the public trust in this way will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

           

Today’s plea resulted from the investigative work of the FBI and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, Criminal Section.   The case is being prosecuted by Civil Rights Division Trial Attorneys Jared Fishman and Chris Lomax.

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