Conn. CO severely assaulted by intoxicated inmate, left lying unconscious
A correctional officer was “severely assaulted” by an intoxicated inmate and was left lying unconscious in a pool of blood suffering from “severe facial lacerations”
By Justin Muszynski
SUFFIELD, Conn. — Union representatives for Connecticut Department of Correction officers are calling for more mental health support and time to “decompress” after a correction officer was seriously assaulted by an inmate over the weekend at the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield.
“Something has to change before someone else is seriously assaulted,” Steven Schortman, correction officer at MacDougall-Walker and executive board member of the American Federation State County Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 391, said during a remote press conference Monday.
The incident union officials pointed to was reported Saturday at the Suffield prison where they say an officer was “severely assaulted” by an intoxicated inmate and was left lying unconscious in a pool of blood suffering from “severe facial lacerations.”
“This is an image that will last with me for the rest of my life,” Brett Gifford, a correction officer at MacDougall-Walker and union steward, said during the press conference Monday. “The officer was taken out of the facility on a stretcher and transported to St. Francis Hospital by ambulance.”
Union officials said the facility was put into lockdown following the assault and was back to normal operations the next day. They argued during the remote press conference that the prison should have remained in lockdown for a day or two to allow both prison employees and inmates time to decompress.
“We’re asking for mental health awareness and training for all of our staff and to allow them to have some time to be able to decompress,” said Collin Provost, president of AFSCME Local 391.
Schortman said lawmakers spend time discussing things like “strip searches and out of cell time for felons, but there is no one talking about the safety within the institution itself.”
“Wake up, Connecticut,” Schortman continued. “Don’t wait for another serious instance to be the one that we react to.”
Schortman said the main goal of Monday’s press conference was to keep both prison workers and the inmate population safe.
Pete Nowsch, a correction officer at MacDougall-Walker and union steward, added that correction employees are “outnumbered to dangerous levels” by inmates.
“They need time to de-escalate their own feelings and have an opportunity to be able to come down from that high adrenaline rush,” said Nowsch.
“What we need is for the facility to have a day or two where they have a lockdown,” Nowsch said.