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CO punched by inmate as COVID-19 tension builds at Conn. prison

The corrections department said the fight came after more than a day of unrest about new security restrictions to prevent a spread of COVID-19

By Don Stacom
The Hartford Courant

ENFIELD, Conn. — A corrections officer was punched in the face Saturday during a large fight between inmates at the Carl Robinson Correctional Institution.

The corrections department said the fight came after more than a day of unrest about new security restrictions to prevent a spread of COVID-19.

After the fight, the department transferred 19 inmates to the maximum-security Northern Correctional Institution, where they’ll be under stricter rules and supervision.

The corrections department said there has been a recent increase in tension at Robinson, a medium-security prison in Enfield that houses about 1,200 prisoners.

On Friday, a group of inmates threatened to organize hunger strikes and work stoppages. Administrators sent their emergency response team in to remove the prisoners from the housing units, department spokeswoman Karen Martucci said.

“Tension climbed amongst the inmate population over the agency’s modified operations, which limit movement and require meals to be served within the housing units — all aimed at protecting the employees and the population as part of the COVID-19 response,” she wrote.

But there was more trouble Saturday at about 1 p.m.

“A fight broke out between three inmates and while correctional staff were responding, a correctional officer was deliberately punched in the face,” she said.

The officer was sent to a hospital for treatment, and no further details were available.

“The department is working around the clock to keep people safe and healthy during an unprecedented heath pandemic,” Martucci said. “The department has a zero tolerance for acts of violence against DOC personnel, or orchestrated efforts to disrupt operations.”

The corrections department transferred another 86 inmates to other prisons around the state. It said they weren’t involved in the unrest, but were transferred for safety.


©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

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