A convicted murderer became very upset and attacked four prison workers earlier in February. Now the prison is speaking out, saying that prisons in Minnesota are dangerously understaffed.
The attack sent two of the four victims to the hospital. Sgt Tom Walsh had to tackle the inmate in order to stop the attack. Because of this move, Walsh suffered a hand injury. Another guard also suffered a minor injury.
It was an attack that happened very fast and it happened at a time when 200 inmates were eating in the dining area.
The inmate, Derrick Brocks, is serving a life sentence for murder. He first attacked the female lieutenant, knocking her to the floor. He then shoved a food service worker to the floor. Walsh then took action and punched Brocks, knocking him to the ground with the assistance of another officer.
Walsh was very thankful that there were other guards in the area when the attack happened so that Brocks could be subdued. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case when guards have been attacked.
There is a video from 2011 that shows a prisoner attacking guards. Walsh says that in 20 years, the prison's population has grown from 800 inmates to 1,600. The Department of Corrections, however, says that crisis training has helped drop the number of assaults from 47 to 17 in just a two year period. But corrections officers at Stillwater say that what occurred is an example of how dangerous the job is, so now the American Federation of State is asking for more guards.
Due to medical privacy reasons, the work-related injuries of the two that were sent to the hospital have not been disclosed. Brocks has been transferred to the maximum security prison in Oak Park Heights.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections has issued a statement stating that all of the prisons in Minnesota operate at proper staffing levels that ensure the protection of the public and the staff. Staffing levels are just one of the factors that determine prison security and safety. They go on to say that the department ensures that order is had within all of its facilities by controlling offender movement and monitoring activity of offenders so that appropriate placement can be made. The staff is highly trained and their professionalism is displayed every day while they are on the job.
Minnesota incarcerates nearly 10,000 inmates at 10 prisons. There are 2,142 correctional officers supervising the offenders.