A former deputy warden at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman was sentenced Friday to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release for assaulting an inmate in 2016. Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Corrections/Facebook

A former deputy warden at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman was sentenced Friday to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release for assaulting an inmate in 2016. Photo courtesy of Mississippi Department of Corrections/Facebook

Sept. 2 (UPI) — A former deputy warden at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman was sentenced Friday to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release for assaulting an inmate in 2016.

Melvin Hilson, 50, pleaded guilty to violating the inmate’s constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, the Justice Department announced in a news release.

Hilson was working as a member of the prison’s K-9 unit and approached an inmate identified in court documents as J.T. while he waited to be seen by medical personnel in a caged area of the prison’s medical unit on Aug. 3, 2016.

The prison worker repeatedly struck the inmate and knocked him to the ground, causing the prisoner to suffer a ruptured eardrum and abrasions to his ear and neck with prolonged headaches, officials said.

“Hilson approached J.T. and struck him several times, knowing that there was no reason to use force and that J.T. did not pose any threat to himself or others,” according to the Justice Department.

“During the assault, Hilson knocked J.T. to the ground, picked him up, and then struck him and knocked him to the ground again.”

Prosecutors said the inmate did not fight back or defend himself during the attack by Hilson, who falsified a report to conceal his assault and lied to investigators.

“This defendant abused his position as a corrections officer by unlawfully assaulting an inmate in his custody,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.

“This defendant violently assaulted the victim and violated the trust that we place in corrections officials to lawfully carry out their duties.”

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