The way the prison guards described it in their paperwork, there was a minor disturbance the day they took Chad Stanbro to a dental clinic at a regional hospital.

Stanbro, a prisoner, had been sedated but became agitated during surgery, took a swing at a dentist and kicked a correctional officer in the stomach, they wrote. The guard and a colleague had quickly restrained him and had driven him back to Fishkill Correctional Facility, where, according to the senior officer’s account, Stanbro had “reported no injuries.”

But critical details were missing — including that Stanbro had been paralyzed during the incident. A third officer had rushed into the clinic’s operating room and had knelt on Stanbro’s neck until he couldn’t move, according to later court testimony. That guard had asked his colleagues to leave him out of their reports, they acknowledged at trial, and they had done so.

Even though Stanbro’s injuries were obvious — he could not walk or move his body from the neck down — the officer who injured him avoided discipline. Stanbro, however, was accused of assault, and after he left the hospital was put in solitary confinement. In July, a federal jury awarded him $2.1 million in damages.

Such cover-ups are commonplace across New York State’s prison system, according to a Marshall Project review of thousands of pages of court documents, arbitration records and officer disciplinary data.

At Auburn Correctional Facility, west of Syracuse, guards kicked a man, called him a racial slur and broke three of his ribs in what a judge called a “barbaric assault.” At Elmira Correctional Facility, near the Pennsylvania border, officers beat a handcuffed man and threw him down a flight of stairs, fracturing his skull. At Clinton Correctional Facility, near the Canadian border, guards kicked and punched a handcuffed man, breaking his rib. In all three cases, the staff members filed false reports to cover up the assaults, court records show, and faced no discipline.

Read the full article about abuse in New York state prisons by Joseph Neff, Alysia Santo and Tom Meagher at The Marshall Project.