Former correctional officer pleads guilty to conspiring to assault, injure inmates

A former member of the Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) at Macon State Prison in Oglethorpe, Ga., pleaded guilty to conspiring with other correctional officers to violate the civil rights of inmates in 2010, the Justice Department announced.

In addition to his guilty plea, Willie Redden, 24, of Albany, Ga., admitted he and other correctional officers assaulted and injured inmates in separate incidents at Macon State Prison in 2010. Redden indicated that correctional officers beat these inmates in order to punish them. One inmate was beaten until he was unresponsive and had to be transported from Macon State Prison in an ambulance.

Redden further acknowledged that he and other correctional officers tried to cover up CERT’s role in beating and injuring inmates. Redden stated that more senior officers told him to write a false report and to stick to their cover story when speaking with investigators.

“Mr. Redden admitted today that instead of lawfully carrying out his public safety responsibilities, he conspired with fellow officers to assault inmates and then cover up those assaults,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute officers who cross the line and engage in criminal misconduct.”

“When people are incarcerated, the sentence they are required to serve is their time locked up in prison,” said U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Michael J. Moore. “It is not a part of their sentence that they be subjected to beatings by the correctional officers. The Department of Justice and I share a zero tolerance policy for those who violate another’s civil rights.”

Redden faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison. His sentencing date has not yet been set.

This case is being investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Special Litigation Counsel Forrest Christian and Trial Attorney Tona Boyd of the Civil Rights Division of Department of Justice, with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia.

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