3 officers hurt in prison scuffle

Greene Correctional Facility has had 30 inmates test positive for COVID-19. Lance Wheeler/For Columbia-Greene Media

COXSACKIE — Three officers were injured in an incident at Greene Correctional Facility, the New York State Correctional Officer and Police Benevolent Association said Friday.

In the midst of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak at the facility, three unidentified corrections officers sustained cuts, bruises and swelling after trying to subdue an inmate.

While trying to administer medical aid to an inmate who was vomiting on Oct. 7, two other inmates inside the dorm became loud and disruptive, according to the union.

“The two inmates were given orders to leave the dorm,” according to the union. “One inmate complied. The second inmate refused and continued to yell.”

Four corrections officers attempted to restrain the inmate, who continued to resist officers, according to the union.

“OC Spray [pepper spray] was administered and after a short struggle the officers applied handcuffs and removed the inmate from the dorm,” according to the union.

The inmates were moved to a special housing unit and are facing disciplinary charges, according to the union.

The injured corrections officers were treated at the scene by medical personnel and remained on duty.

“Amidst a serious surge in COVID cases at Greene, the officers who came to the aid of a sick inmate are just another example of how selfless and professional our officers are,” NYSCOPBA Mid-Hudson Region Vice President Chris Moreau said in a statement.

“Despite calling for an end to inmate visitation in prisons that are seeing significant increases in coronavirus cases, DOCCS and the governor have been silent once again,” Moreau said.

The outbreak poses a risk for inmates, staff and their families, Moreau said.

“This is a serious health risk for staff and their families as well as inmates,” Moreau said. “The governor continually lectures the public that we need to take this pandemic seriously, yet as we have seen time and again, his administration is the last to act when it comes to protecting our members.”

The union Wednesday called for suspension of inmate visits due to the high number of COVID-19 cases at the facility.

Visitation at the correctional facility resumed in August.

The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision does not have plans to alter visitation at this time, spokesman Thomas Mailey said.

“At this time there are no changes expected regarding visitation this weekend at Greene Correctional Facility,” Mailey said. “As DOCCS continues to implement our reopening plan, the department’s greatest concern, as always, remains the health, safety and well-being of our employees, as well as everyone placed within our care, custody and supervision, and the surrounding community.”

The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reported 93 inmates tested positive for the virus Thursday. The department conducted tests on 1,100 inmates with results expected by the end of the week.

Coxsackie’s medium-security prison ranks fourth among all state correctional facilities for the highest number of COVID-19 cases.

Greene Correctional Facility has 1,157 inmates in its custody and employs 652 people. Across the state, 1,375 correctional employees have tested positive.

The union drew parallels between nursing home visitation requirements and the requirements of the prison.

“Nursing homes across the state have had serious restrictions placed on them when it pertains to family visitation,” according to the union. “Should similar standards be put in place at state prisons for those wishing to visit convicted felons? Staff should expect no less protections from our governor and DOCCS.”

Nursing home visitors must produce a negative COVID-19 test from within seven days, according to the state Department of Health.

Visitors to state correctional facilities must complete a health questionnaire and have their temperature checked, Mailey said.

At both nursing homes and state prisons, residents and inmates are not eligible for visits if they tested positive for the virus or are on quarantine are a result of contact tracing.

Nursing home staff are required to be tested twice per week, according to the state Department of Health.

Corrections staff can request a COVID test through their physician or visit a state testing site, Mailey said.

Staff are subject to daily health screenings including temperature checks, Mailey said. All staff identified as part of a contact trace are quarantined and referred to a testing site.

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(1) comment

Yvette Rivera

My Son id in Greene Corr Facility and is Coronavirus Positive And is on quarantine WITH two days to Complete his 14 days quarantine was place in SPECIAL HOUSING UNIT to complete his quarantine my son is an asthmatic But was place in the SHU TO COMPLETE his Quarantine that is So inhumane This is what's taking place at Greene Correctional Facility Someone needs to go into this Facility before a lawsuit is put into place.

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