* The following is a release from the Department of Justice

A former correctional officer at a privately-operated federal prison could spend up to 15 years behind bars after admitting accepting bribes from an inmate.

Micheal Eaddy, 23, of Blackshear, a former correctional officer at D. Ray James Correctional Facility, a private prison operated under federal contract in Folkston, Ga., entered the plea in U.S. District Court to one count of bribery, said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charge carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison, a substantial fine, and up to three years of supervised release upon completion of the prison sentence. There is no parole in the federal system.

“Correctional officers have a demanding job,” said U.S. Attorney Christine. “It makes the job more difficult, and dangerous, when dirty guards join the inmates in violating the law. When that happens, our office will work to put them on the same side of the bars.”

Eaddy admitted accepting $246.25 from an inmate in return for smuggling cigarettes into the prison. Investigators discovered the activity after seizing a contraband phone from the inmate and examining its contents, which included electronic conversations between Eaddy and the inmate.

“When correctional officers smuggle contraband into prisons in exchange for bribes, they undermine the safety and security of the institution they vowed to protect,” said James F. Boyersmith, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General Miami Field Office. 

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, and prosecuted for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marcela C. Mateo.