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Hazelton corrections officers charged for 2019 inmate assault

Two corrections officers from United States Penitentiary Hazleton are facing charges over a March 21, 2019, incident involving the assault of a prisoner. 

According to U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld’s office, Robert David Sims, 40, of Bruceton Mills, and Joshua David Sines, 38, of Friendsville, Md., were each charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of assault with serious bodily injury. 

According to the indictment, at the time of the incident Sims and Sines were employed as correctional officers by the U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons. 

While employed at the federal prison, the indictment alleges Sims and Sines “struck an inmate in the face, head, arms and torso.” The assault caused significant injuries to the inmate, who is not identified by the U.S. attorney. 

Prisoners are protected by the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by a correctional officer, which the indictment claims the two officers violated. 

If convicted, Sims and Sines each face up to 20 years in prison for the civil rights violation charge and up to 10 years for the assault charge 

The case will be determined by a federal district court judge who will deliver sentencing after considering all U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors. 

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Brandon Flower on behalf of the government. 

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