TRENTON — A former senior corrections officer at one of the state’s youth prisons in Burlington County has admitted to hitting a youth twice in the head while the youth’s hands were tied behind him.
State Attorney General Matthew Platkin said that Jason Parks, of Gibbstown, then filed a fake incident report and got another officer to help him cover up what he had done. Platkin called the attack “brutal and vicious.”
In February 2019, Parks, who is 43 years old, was an officer at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in Bordentown. During that time, two other officers restrained the young inmate, who was also handcuffed.
In Burlington County Superior Court on December 5, Parks pleaded guilty to the second-degree charge of conspiring to do something wrong as an official.
The Cover-up of a Crime
Parks lied in an incident report when he said he slapped the detained youth in the face to stop him from spitting.
In reality, Parks had hit him twice from behind, sending the inmate’s head into a wall, as seen on surveillance video from the facility and confirmed by witness statements.
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Parks also told another officer to write a report that was similar to the story he had made up.
In his plea, Parks said that he and the officer worked together to break the rules and policies of the DOC and commit Official Misconduct.
Parks could get up to ten years in prison when she is sentenced in March 2023. As part of his plea deal, Parks also agreed not to work for the state government again.
In a written statement, Platkin said, “Correctional Police Officers take an oath to maintain and keep safe the places they are assigned to.”
He said, “The officer’s actions were not only wrong and too harsh, but they were also brutal and cruel.” We will keep holding police officers to their promise to protect all New Jerseyans, even those who are in state custody.
“Part of the Department of Corrections’ job is to run facilities that are not only safe but also treat people in custody with respect,” said Thomas Eicher, Executive Director of the Office of Public Integrity and Accountability. “This kind of violence will not be tolerated.
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“To make things even worse, Parks made up documents and forced a fellow correctional police officer to file a false and misleading report,” Eicher said.