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Union Seeking Answers After Prison Attacks

Union officials say they want answers after reports of several prison attacks in western Maryland.
BALTIMORE, MD - Since late June, there have been seven incidents during which 12 state correctional officers at North Branch Correctional Institution, near Cumberland, were injured.

The union representing the officers, The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 3, says this is unacceptable. They met with the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services at a general meeting in Baltimore Thursday seeking answers.

North Branch is known to be a "very challenging environment." The prison houses 1399 inmates, with nearly a thousand of them convicted of manslaughter or murder.

AFSCME Maryland President, Patrick Moran says, "Inside these facilities, these officers are not armed with weapons they're just all done in just a person to person basis and they're outnumbered."

Here's a breakdown of the inmate attacks according to the DPSCS:

One officer went to the hospital as a precaution with a nose injury   after an inmate objecting to a search assaulted him. 

There were three separate incidents, two involving inmates who refused to be searched and assaulted a special team on scene from correctional
headquarters. No officers required medical treatment after these assaults. 

The third incident sent a correctional dietary officer to the hospital with a head injury after he was attacked in the dining room. The warden went to the
hospital with him. The officer required stitches, but was not seriously injured. 

Four officers went to the hospital as a precaution after an extremely combative inmate being moved after allegedly assaulting his cell partner assaulted
them. 

Two officers were assaulted by two inmates in the dining hall. One went to the hospital as a precaution after hitting his head against a wall during
the assault.

The DPSCS says officer's injuries were non-life threatening, and only one required a 911 transport. They also say NBCI was on lockdown status after each
recent incident.

Still, the union president tells WHAG what they're most disheartened about is the fact officials at NBCI knew an attack was coming in one case. Moran says the prison didn't do enough to protect officers' safety.

"When they know something is going to happen when they intercept something of that nature they ought to take a heightened security measure and enact that," says Moran. "They didn't do that, and as a result two people were injured."

The DPSCS says charges will be filed against inmates after every serious assault. A DPSCS official will be on site at the prison on Friday.


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