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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 17, 2020

Former Mississippi Corrections Officer Sentenced to Prison for Excessive Force

Shelley Griffith, 29, a former Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) officer, was sentenced today in Jackson, Mississippi, by Chief U.S. District Judge Daniel P. Jordan II of the Southern District of Mississippi to serve 70 months in prison for her role in assaulting an inmate at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF) in Rankin County, Mississippi.

Griffith pled guilty on Dec. 14, 2017, to violating the civil rights of an inmate by using excessive force against him.

“This type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the Department of Justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division is committed to prosecuting those who violate the civil rights of others.”

“Violating a person’s civil rights, whether the person is incarcerated or not, is a serious offense and only damages the already delicate relationship between corrections officers and inmates,” said Special Agent in Charge Michelle A. Sutphin of the FBI’s Jackson Division. “The FBI will continue working with our partner agencies to investigate violations of civil rights within Mississippi prisons.”

According to the Criminal Information, on May 25, 2016, Griffith assaulted the inmate, identified as “L.H.,” by kicking, punching, and stomping on him. Griffith’s assault resulted in bodily injury to “L.H.” and involved the use of a dangerous weapon. At the time of the incident, Griffith was working as a corrections officer at CMCF in Rankin County, Mississippi.

Two other former MDOC officers, Reginald Brown and Sharalyn McClain, have pled guilty to violating the civil rights of “L.H.” based on their own conduct during the assault.  Brown was sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 60 months. McClain will be sentenced on March 20, 2020. 

This case was investigated by the FBI’s Jackson, Mississippi, Field Office. Special Litigation Counsel Julia Gegenheimer and Trial Attorneys Cameron Bell and Mary J. Hahn of the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Glenda Haynes of Southern District of Mississippi prosecuted the case.

The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice.  Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.

Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Press Release Number: 
20-59
Updated January 17, 2020