Mohawk Prison Guard Injures Back, Cracks Tooth in Attacked By Inmate During Transport
Another attack on a correctional officer a Mohawk Valley state prison resulted in a back injury and cracked tooth, according to the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association.
The incident happened on Friday at Mohawk Correctional Facility in Rome while officers were transporting an inmate to another dorm at the prison. Officers say the inmate became agitated and allegedly stood up and attacked a guard who was sitting behind him, throwing a punch, but missing.
A scuffle ensued, guards say, and the correctional officer who was driving the van stopped and exited. As he opened the van's side door, the other officer was able to force the inmate out and onto the ground, guards said. The inmate was pepper sprayed once to no effect, so the spray was administered a second time - having a 'limited effect.'
It was enough that officers were able to contain the arms and legs of the inmate, handcuff him, and end the incident, according to NYSCOPBA, who released a summary of the incident to media. One of the officers was said to be suffering from 'severe back pain' after the attack, the union said, and also cracked a molar in the melee, sustained a laceration to his finger and had visible facial swelling.
The inmate, a 24-year-old serving five years for an attempted robbery conviction, was placed in a Special Housing Unit pending disciplinary charges in the incident, NYSCOPBA said.
The union's Central Region Vice President released a statement on the attack, again pointing to a new law in New York that put limits on who and how solitary confinement can be used.
“With the HALT Act in full effect and basically no disciplinary system left as a result, one of the only deterrents we have left to stop attacks on staff is for county district attorney offices to prosecute cases where there will be meaningful consequences for inmates. This attack at Mohawk is one of those cases in which the inmate is serving a short prison sentence and is scheduled to be released in a year. I strongly encourage the Oneida District Attorney’s Office to prosecute this inmate. A conviction will send a strong message that there are still consequences to attacking staff," said Bryan Hluska, NYSCOPBA Central Region VP.
Just last month, NYSCOPBA also called out the change in law and policy as it relates to solitary confinement, saying the restrictions amount to putting a bullseye on the backs of guards and other prison staff.