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Alabama corrections supervisor convicted of federal charges

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Federal prosecutors say a former Alabama prisons officer was convicted of civil rights charges for the beating of three prisoners with a baton and writing a false report to cover up the beatings. The Department of Justice said court records show that a federal jury on Tuesday convicted Lorenzo Mills of three counts of violating the prisoners' rights by subjecting them to cruel and unusual punishment and one count of falsifying an official report. The Department of Justice said trial evidence and testimony showed one man suffered a broken arm and the two others suffered injuries such as pain and bruising.

Mills was a sergeant at Draper Correctional Facility in Elmore, Alabama.

"This verdict shows that our community members agree that no person is above the law," said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "The Constitution protects the rights of all people, including those in our jails and prisons."

The Department of Justice said that Mills faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison for the civil rights charges and 20 years in prison for the obstruction of justice offense.

Alabama Public Radio spent six months investigating the state’s corrections system. That effort was recognized with APR’s third national Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists, known within the industry as the “junior Pulitzers.” Within weeks of the airing of “…and justice for all,” the U.S. Justice Department began an investigation of Alabama’s prison system.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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