Mississippi prison’s deputy warden charged with civil rights offense for beating inmate

Published 3:26 pm Friday, July 2, 2021

Special to the Item

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that a federal grand jury indicted Melvin Hilson, 49, currently a Deputy Warden at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, for repeatedly striking an inmate and knocking him to the ground, resulting in injury to the inmate. 

The indictment charges Hilson with a felony civil rights offense for assaulting the inmate in 2016, when Hilson was a member of the K-9 Unit at the prison, which is also known as Parchman. The indictment also alleges that Hilson wrote a false report to conceal his unlawful assault and, later, lied to investigators from the Mississippi Department of Corrections when questioned about the assault.

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Today’s indictment was announced by Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Clay Joyner for the Northern District of Mississippi and FBI Jackson Special Agent in Charge Michelle Sutphin.

This case was investigated by the Jackson Division of the FBI.  Special Litigation Counsel Samantha Trepel and Trial Attorney Cameron Bell of the Civil Rights Division and Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert Mims of the Northern District of Mississippi are prosecuting the case.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.