Senior Correctional police officer faces 10 years in prison for falsifying report after striking inmate at Bordentown youth facility

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A former senior correctional police officer at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in Bordentown has pleaded guilty for attempting to cover up an incident by falsifying his report and convincing another guard to do the same after striking an inmate twice in the back of the head while the prisoner was handcuffed and restrained by other officers, according to Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin.

Jason Parks, 43, of Gibbstown, appeared on Dec. 5 before the Honorable Terrance R. Cook in Burlington County Superior Court and entered a guilty plea to second-degree conspiracy to commit official misconduct, according to a press release through the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General on Dec. 20.

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“Correctional police officers take an oath to maintain and secure the facilities where they are assigned,” Platkin said. “The actions of the officer were not only unjustified and excessive, they were brutal and vicious. We will continue to hold law enforcement officers accountable to their promise to protect all New Jerseyans – including those in state custody.”

Thomas Eicher, executive director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability (OBIA), said part of the Department of Corrections’ (DOC) mission is “running facilities that are not only secure but that also treat those in custody humanely, and this assaultive behavior will not be tolerated.”

“To make matters worse, Parks falsified documents and dragged a fellow correctional police officer into filing a false and misleading report,” he said.

In entering the plea, Parks admitted that on Feb. 19, 2019, while he was on duty at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility, he struck an inmate in the head twice while that inmate was handcuffed with his arms behind him. The inmate was being held by two other correctional police officers and facing away from Parks at the time. The force of the blows knocked the inmate’s head against a wall. That use of force was in clear violation of the DOC’s Use of Force policy, according to the press release.

After the assault, Parks filed a report in which he claimed the inmate cursed at him and threatened to spit in his face. In his report, Parks stated that he struck the inmate in the mouth with an open hand to prevent him from spitting. Surveillance video from the facility and witness statements contradicted those claims. After the incident, Parks directed another officer to write a report that echoed his own false narrative. In his plea, Parks admitted to conspiring with that officer to commit official misconduct and violate the DOC’s rules and policies, according to the press release.

Sentencing for Parks is scheduled for March 9, 2023 before Cook in Burlington County Superior Court. The defendant faces up to a decade in prison.

Under the plea deal, Parks also agreed to permanently forfeit public employment in New Jersey, according to the press release.

Parks was charged in an investigation conducted by OPIA and the Department of Corrections Special Investigations Division.

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