Bayside State Prison guard admits to conspiracy and assaulting inmates

A corrections officer at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, New Jersey, admitted to agreeing with others to physically assault inmates for actual, perceived, and fabricated violations of the prison’s rules and customs in a manner that resulted in injury to the inmates.

John Makos, 42, a registered Republican voter who resides in Millville, on November 18, 2022, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Karen M. Williams in Camden federal court to an information charging him with conspiring with others to deprive inmates of their right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.

According to U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger, documents filed in this case and statements made in court, while working as a corrections officer, Makos conspired with others at Bayside State Prison from at least April 2019 through December 2019, to assault and punish certain inmates in a cruel and arbitrary manner by using excessive force that caused physical injury and pain to the victims.

Makos and his co-conspirators agreed to physically assault victims for actual and perceived violations of the prison’s rules and customs, which on occasion resulted in the inmates suffering bodily injury.

These assaults took place while the inmates were under Makos’ supervision and in areas of the Prison’s kitchen that were out of sight of institutional surveillance cameras.

For example, on Dec. 7, 2019, Makos watched and did not attempt to intervene when multiple inmates pinned a victim to the floor and, while the inmates restrained the victim, punched the victim approximately 25 times.

Makos did not report this assault to his supervisors or medical personnel, despite knowing he was required to do so.

Conspiring to violate the civil rights of others carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum potential fine of the greater of $250,000, twice the gross amount of pecuniary gain that any person derived from the offense, or twice the gross amount of pecuniary loss that any person suffered from the offense, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for March 23, 2022.

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