COXSACKIE — A corrections officer at Coxsackie Correctional Facility is being treated at Albany Medical Center for a fractured skull and a broken sternum after he was attacked by an inmate Monday, according to James Miller, communication specialist for New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association.
The officer’s condition was not immediately known.
At about 3:33 p.m. Monday, an officer was escorting the inmate to the showers and took the mechanical restraints off the inmate’s wrists, Miller said.
The inmate immediately spun around and punched the officer in the face and tackled him to the shower floor, landing on top of the officer, Miller said.
The officer struck the back of his head hard on the floor, but he was able to get free and get up off the floor, Miller said.
The inmate attempted to punch the officer again but missed.
The officer was then able to defend himself and strike the inmate in the chest, whereupon the inmate ran out of the shower area and back to his cell where he closed his cell gate, Miller said.
Additional staff arrived on the scene and proceeded to remove the inmate from his cell, Miller said. The officer who was attacked was taken to the facility clinic at the prison, where his injuries were assessed, and was taken to Albany Medical Center where he was diagnosed with a fractured skull and broken sternum, Miller said.
The 22-year-old inmate, who has not been identified, was placed in a special housing unit, Miller said.
He is serving a three-year sentence after being convicted in Monroe County in 2019 for second-degree attempted criminal possession of a weapon, Miller said. The inmate also has a past disciplinary history of attacking staff at the prison.
State police were notified of the attack, Miller said.
“This absolutely horrific attack on one of my members needs to be a wake-up call to DOCCS (Department Of Corrections and Community Supervision) and Gov. Cuomo as advocates continue to lobby for additional reform to Special Housing Units,” said Michael Mazzella, NYSCOPBA Mid-Hudson Region vice president.
“The day before the attack, a fellow NYSCOPBA member sent a memo to supervisors at Coxsackie expressing concerns about staffing levels not being adequate to run the inmate showers safely,” Mazzella said. “The following day his concerns came to fruition in this vicious attack.”
“If this isn’t a prime example of why there needs to be measures to restrict violent inmates through special housing units I am not sure what is,” Mazzella added. “Any additional reforms will further put officers in jeopardy.”