A guard has been indicted after striking an inmate with a baton at the Lebanon Correctional Institution. GREG LYNCH / STAFF

Warren County prison guard indicted for inmate assault

On Sept. 16, John B. Hinkle, 51, allegedly broke an inmate’s jaw with a strike from his baton, although the inmate posed no threat to him or anyone else at prison, Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said.

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Hinkle was among guards responding after a group of handcuffed inmates began kicking and spitting on each other. The inmates had submitted to guards’ commands when Hinkle swung his baton with both hands at the unidentified inmate’s head, leaving lacerations and requiring surgery and his jaw to be wired shut, Fornshell said.

Hinkle was “within minutes” placed on leave, Fornshell added.

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The prison outside Lebanon has been the site of a number of violent incidents, some involving guards attacked by inmates.

Fornshell said guards were not authorized to swing their batons at an inmate’s head “unless you’re trying to save somebody’s life.”

The prosecutor called it possibly the first and “by far the most egregious” guard assault his office had handled. He has been in office since February 2011.

Hinkle is scheduled for arraignment on Nov. 9 in Warren County Common Pleas Court.

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