Ex-Federal Corrections Officer Pleads Guilty to Bribery
A former Mississippi federal corrections officer pled guilty to bribery for accepting cash in exchange for tobacco, according to a statement from the Department of Justice Office of Inspectors General.
Beginning in the fall of 2016, Julius Pearson, 26, started smuggling tobacco into the Yazoo County Regional Correctional Facility, a Federal Prison where he worked as a corrections officer.
In all, Pearson received approximately $10,000 by inmates and others for delivering tobacco to inmates inside the prison.
The starting salary for Mississippi correctional officers is $22,000 annually, and the state is considering legislation to increase the salary, according to the Clarion-Ledger reported, which reported that officers had not received a pay raise in eight years.
Correctional workers and inmates exist in a unique environment that can – especially when an officer is not paid much – sometimes cultivate a sense of shared punishment, according to CNN.
"In a correctional environment, these workers are kind of prisoners themselves," said Joe Giacalone, a retired New York Police detective who worked closely with prison officials. "They are locked up for hours – 12- or 18-hour shifts – with these inmates."
Pearson will be sentenced on August 15, 2017, and faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy Criminal Chief Patrick Lemon and was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Inspector General.
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