In this March 20, 2019, photo, a watch tower stands high on the grounds of the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Pearl, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A former corrections officer at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility could face prison time for punching an inmate and striking them with a canister of pepper spray. 

Jessica Hill pleaded guilty Thursday to using excessive force in July 2019 against an incarcerated person identified as L.C. Hill continued to strike L.C. as the inmate was on the ground in the fetal position until another staff member intervened, according to a news release. 

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and U.S. Attorney Darren J. LaMarca for the Southern District of Mississippi said prison officials who abuse their power will be held accountable. 

“Using violent physical force as punishment will not be tolerated,” Clarke said in a statement. “The Justice Department will continue to vindicate the Eighth Amendment right of prisoners to be free from cruel and unusual punishment at the hands of prison officials.”

Acting Special Agent in Charge Maher Dimachkie of the FBI Jackson Field Office said Hill’s disregard of an inmate’s constitutional right “is a disservice to those in the penal system, the corrections officers who take pride in their profession.”

Hill faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. Her sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 25.

Last year, a federal grand jury indicted Hill and prison case manager Nicole Moore with deprivation of rights of an inmate under color of law, which are acts and duties performed as part of official duty.  

Moore, who allegedly kicked L.C., pleaded guilty in April, according to court documents. Sentencing information was not included in court records. 

Court documents did not provide a reason why force was used against L.C. 

A spokesperson from the Mississippi Department of Corrections declined to comment when the staff members were indicted because the alleged incident happened under a previous administration.

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Mina, a California native, covers the criminal justice system. Before joining Mississippi Today, she was a reporter for the Clarion Ledger and newspapers in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe and USA Today.