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By Craig Braack

More Violence at Elmira Correctional Facility

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Officers Injured, Inmate on Inmate Fights Occur

Attacks on Staff Have Increased 40 Percent Since HALT Went Into Effect

Elmira Correctional is the first stop for most people sentenced to state prison who come from the Allegany and Steuben County Jails

Image from NYCAIC.ORG

Violence continues to plague Elmira Correctional Facility as three officers were injured by an inmate and two inmate on inmate fights occurred over the weekend at the maximum security prison.

On Saturday, October 1, 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. After swallowing the object, the inmate suddenly charged the officer and punched him in the right eye. The officer administered OC spray to the inmate and grabbed him in a body hold and forced him to the ground. A second officer inside the cell assisted in 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. Once treated in the infirmary, the inmate was placed in an observation cell. Officers removed his handcuffs and he struck one of the officers in the face. They placed him a body hold again and forced him to the ground, where he remained combative and kicked one of the officers.

Handcuffs were applied again and he became compliant.

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 inmate, 41, is serving 25 years to life sentence after being convicted in Bronx County for Murder 2nd in 2007. He was placed in a Special Housing Unit pending disciplinary charges following the attack. The 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.

All inmates involved in the fighting face internal disciplinary charges.

No staff were injured.

The following day an 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. “Since April 1, assaults on staff have increased by forty percent and the number of injuries to staff that are considered “moderate to severe” has increased by ninety eight percent. 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?”-stated Kenny Gold, New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association, Inc. (NYSCOPBA) Western Region Vice President.

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