9 Officers Injured as Violence Continues to Surge at State Correctional Facilties
Instances of violence against Correctional Officers in New York State prisons are unfortunately becoming routine. Nine officers were injured in four separate incidents at the Mid-State Correctional Facility in Marcy. The following situations are according to New York State Correctional Officer Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) Vice President Bryan Hluska.
The endless attacks on staff, drugs and weapons seized at prisons across the state should be a direct wake up call for our elected officials that their watered down disciplinary policies are only making prisons more dangerous every day. The current system in place does not hold inmates accountable for attacking staff and it provides little or no safety for staff. They simply deserve much more for the dangerous work environment they are put in.
In the month of July and already in August there were several attacks on officers during the course of their regularly scheduled routines and duties. The first incident occurred back on July 21 when an officer noticed one inmate pass an item to another. Upon asking the inmate to submit to a pat & frisk, the inmate came off the wall and attempted to punch the CO. The punch missed the officer and the inmate was taken to the ground. When another officer arrived to assist, the inmate bit one officer on the wrist and kicked another in the eye and shin. The inmate was finally handcuffed and became compliant.
Another attack on an officer happened on July 24 when that CO was making his rounds in the housing dorms when he noticed someone smoking in one of the bathrooms. The officer ordered the inmate out of the stall and to put the cigarette out. The inmate clenched his fists and swung at the officer. That officer responded by spraying the inmate and he was subdued and transported for decontamination. During the process he kicked backwards and struck an officer in the shoulder and chest. That officer remained on duty and another officer suffered minor injuries in the attack and also remained on duty. The inmate was transferred to a special housing unit pending disciplinary charges.
During an incident on August 6 three officers were injured by an agitated inmate. One of the female officers injured has to be transferred to an outside medical facility for further treatment. NYSCOPBA Central Region Vice President Bryan Hluska says an officer noticed an inmate on a walkway at the prison in an agitated state. When the officer approached the inmate in an attempt to calm him down. The inmate ignored the command and other officers came over to assist. The inmate was ordered to submit to a pat & frisk and prior to it swung around and started throwing punches at the four officers. The inmate was sprayed, but it did nothing to stop him. During the scuffle the inmate struck a female officer in the face and grabbed a second around the neck in an attempt to choke him. Finally, the inmate was handcuffed and subdued. He was then transported to Auburn Correctional Facility. Three of the officers were treated at Mid-State by medical staff and the female officer, who suffered facial and other injuries, was transported to an outside medical facility.
Finally, on August 7 an officer noticed an inmate on the phone during a period of time he was not permitted to use it. When the officer saw this he ordered the inmate off the phone, a command the inmate ignored. When the inmate finally got off the phone he was ordered back to his cube and once there began shouting at the officer. The officer tried to tell the inmate to calm down, but instead the inmate ignored the command and took a "fighting stance." The inmate was sprayed, but it was ineffective and he punched the officer in the face. The officer then put the inmate in a body hold and forced him onto the bed. Other officers immediately came over to assist and finally handcuffed and subdued the inmate. That inmate was transferred to a special housing unit and is facing disciplinary charges. One officer sustained a swollen right knee, right middle finger, and face. He was treated at the facility and remained on duty.
These attacks, while not resulting in grave injury, are not called for and make the thankless job of a Correctional Officer very difficult. It's not just police on the streets that are facing disrespect and danger, these men and women that guard prison inmates walk into work with their head on a swivel every day. To all who do the job, thank you. It can't be easy and hopefully there can be some answer to this ever-growing problem.