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Former Florida Prison Guard Sentenced for Conspiracy to Assault Youthful Offenders

On September 8, 2021, a former guard with the Florida Department of Corrections (DOC) was sentenced to 33 months in prison and two years of supervised release for “conspiring to assault youthful offender inmates at the South Florida Reception Center,” according to a press release by the federal Department of Justice.

Youthful offenders are prisoners so designated by a court or DOC and are generally 24 years old or younger. Their treatment at the prison in Doral, Florida, became the focus of a federal investigation and resulted in the indictments of the guard, 31-year-old Terrance Reynolds, and his supervisor, Sgt. Brendan Butler, also 31. [See: PLN, Oct. 2019, p.63.]

The evidence presented at Reynolds’ 14-day trial established that on March 27, 2017, he and Butler instructed three youthful offenders to exit their housing area and took them into a mop closet. One of the youths was then assaulted by the two guards with a stick while the other two prisoners stood nearby. The next day, the guards assaulted one of the other prisoners for being disrespectful.

Butler previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the prisoners’ civil rights and was sentenced in 2018 to a two-year prison term. The jury then hung on Reynolds’ guilt at his first trial in 2019. But at his re-trial, his former supervisor testified against him, and the jury then found Reynolds guilty of conspiring to assault the youthful offenders. He faced a maximum sentence by statute of ten years in prison. 

Sources: U.S. Department of Justice, Florida Phoenix, Miami New Times

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