COs assaulted by inmates 3 times in 3 weeks at N.J. jail, union says
In the unit where one of the attacks took place, there is one officer for every 64 inmates and officers routinely work 16 hour shifts, the union said
By Jeff Goldman
NEWARK, N.J. — Three corrections officers at the Essex County jail have been assaulted by inmates in the past three weeks, a union official said.
Two of the corrections officers suffered serious injuries, including one on Wednesday morning who was punched and kicked by one inmate and stabbed by another, according to David Matos of PBA Local 382, the union that represents the officers.
Inmates Shakur Richardson, 25, and Denarius Hemphill, 18, are charged with aggravated assault for the attack on the corrections officer, a spokesman for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office said.
Jail director Ronald L. Charles and Warden Guy Cirillo couldn’t immediately be reached to comment Thursday.
The officer suffered lacerations above the left thigh, on top of and in back of his head, on his right ear and just above his left eye after being stabbed by a sharp jail-made metal weapon, Matos said.
“The officer was approached by an inmate while he was carrying food trays,” Matos said. “The inmate started to assault the officer and other inmates followed in the assault. He was very close to losing his eye as well as his life.”
Earlier this week, two inmates broke a corrections officer’s nose, according to another officer. Details on the third alleged assault weren’t immediately available.
While Matos couldn’t immediately be reached for additional information Thursday, he previously said conditions for corrections officers have becoming increasingly dangerous due to understaffing inside the jail on Doremus Avenue in Newark.
In the unit where Wednesday’s attack took place, there is one officer for every 64 inmates and officers routinely work 16-hour shifts, according to Matos.
Jail officials did not immediately respond to requests to comment.
Inmates have also complained about poor treatment in the jail. Four inmates died in custody in late 2021 and early 2022 and another was allegedly beaten into a coma by a group of inmates.
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