Reps for officers at the Elmira Correctional Facility say violence continues to plague the prison at an alarming rate.
In the last weekend alone, three officers were injured by an inmate, and two inmate-on-inmate fights occurred at the maximum security facility.
On October 1st an officer was conducting a cell search in one of the cell blocks when he observed an inmate take an unknown object, put it in his mouth, and swallow it.
An officer was conducting a cell search in one of the cell blocks when he observed an inmate take an unknown object, put it in his mouth, and swallow it. The officer administered OC spray to the inmate and grabbed him in a body hold and forced him to the ground, according to a news release. A second officer inside the cell assisted with getting handcuffs on the inmate.
Once in handcuffs the inmate became compliant. He was brought to his feet and escorted to the infirmary to be decontaminated from the OC spray, and placed in an observation cell for what was swallowed.
Reps say that once the inmates handcuffs were removed he struck an officer in the face. They placed him in a body hold again and forced him tot he ground where he remained combative.
Three officers were injured in the incident. One officer sustained swelling and pain to his face. The second officer sustained knee pain. Both officers were treated by facility medical staff and remained on duty. The third officer sustained right hand pain and swelling. He was transported to an outside hospital for treatment.
The 41-year-old inmate, who was not identified in the release from the officers union, is serving 25 years to life after being convicted of a murder in New York City in 2007.
That same day 17 inmates were involved in a fight in the mess hall during the morning meal. An officer assigned to the mess hall witnessed multiple inmates exchanging punches. He called for a response and additional staff arrived. The inmates ignored several orders to stop fighting from staff. OC spray was utilized and was effective. Once order was restored, the inmates were escorted from the mess hall and returned to their cells. Staff conducted cell searches for contraband and recovered a ceramic scalpel in one inmate’s cell. The weapon was taken as evidence.
No staff were injured in that incident. All of the inmates involved in that incident are facing disciplinary charges.
The following day and officer who was monitoring inmates in the mess hall corridor witnessed two inmates attack another inmate. He gave several orders for the inmates to stop fighting and they were ignored. OC spray was utilized on the inmates and was effective. The three inmates became compliant and were removed from the corridor.
NYSCOPBA Western Region Vice President Kenny Gold said these violent incidents have dramatically increased.
“Since April 1st assaults on staff have increased by 40 percent and the number of injuries to staff considered ‘moderate to severe’ has increased by 98%,” Gold said in a statement. “The statistics don’t lie – the HALT Act has single-handedly made state correctional facilities more violent, and less safe. Inmate on staff and inmate on inmate violence has rapidly increased since the disastrous legislation went into effect. How much violence at Elmira alone within such a short period will it take before any legislator that supported this ridiculous legislation will acknowledge this Act was a failure?”