PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) – A former prison counselor found guilty of providing contraband to inmates and encouraging them to fight learned his fate Friday morning.
50-year-old Kevin Erickson was employed with the Federal Correctional Complex in Petersburg for 20 years. Before being sentenced, he asked the judge for mercy.
Erickson faced a maximum of 14 years behind bars. The judge sentenced him to 5 years probation and a $10,000 fine. Erickson walked court, relieved.
"I was pleased with what the judge rendered - that he's allowing me to continue to become a functional part of society," said Erickson.
In October, Erickson was found guilty of a number of charges, including soliciting an inmate to commit a crime of violence. In one incident, he provided a set of barber's shears to an inmate to use as a weapon.
Erickson smuggled contraband into the correctional complex for inmates, including cell phones. In return inmates would carry out assaults on other inmates at Erickson's direction. According to court documents, an inmate's relative gave Erickson $600 in cash, cigarettes, and pornography.
The incidents happened from 2002 through 2008. Erickson also provided inmates with marijuana -- in return, those inmates would help ensure order and discipline in Erickson's unit.
After his sentencing hearing, Erickson had no comment on the crimes in which he was convicted.
The reason for no time behind bars, according to the judge, is because Erickson suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the Bureau of Prisons cannot provide the total treatment needed for Erickson's mental state.
"The Bureau of Prisons does not have a specific program set up for veterans with respect to the psychology aspect of PTSD and the counseling necessary for the treatment," said Shannon Taylor, Erickson's attorney.
Erickson lives in Chesterfield. He says he already has a new job lined up. In court, the judge called Erickson's crimes awful and disgraceful. The judge also commended Erickson on his military career.
During the first two years of Erickson's probation he'll be on home confinement. Prosecutors argued that a sentence with no prison time would not discourage others from following in Erickson's footsteps, but the judge disagreed.