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Corrections union documents violent month at Gouverneur Correctional Facility

GOUVERNEUR, N.Y. (WWTI) – The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association said the month of April was filled with a number of incidents at Gouverneur Correctional Facility.

In a press release from the union, there incidents that included inmates assaulting fellow prisoners and sent several officers to the hospital. NYSCOPBA also said the staff recovered several make-shift weapons during searches.

Here are some of the incidents that took place at the correctional facility:

  • On Friday, April 12, an officer heard yelling from one of the bathrooms in the dorm. When the officer entered the bathroom, she found the inmate unresponsive. She called for a medical response. Narcan was administered and was effective. The inmate was escorted to the infirmary where he became unresponsive again. Narcan was administered a second time, which was effective. The inmate was transported to Gouverneur Hospital for further treatment.
  • On Saturday, April 13, an officer needed to be treated at Gouverneur Hospital for facial injuries after an inmate struck him in the face in the mess hall. Initially, the inmate was yelling at workers in the food line and continued yelling when he sat down at a table. The officer ordered the inmate to his feet and was attacked as he was escorting him from the mess hall. The inmate was quickly subdued by the officer and additional staff.
  • On Saturday, April 13, an officer making security rounds in the Residential Rehabilitation Unit (RRU) could not see the inmate in his cell through the window and he did not respond to the officer. Additional staff arrived at the cell, and the cell door was opened. Officers entered the cell and the inmate charged at them from the shower. The officers quickly grabbed the inmate in a body hold and forced him to the ground. On the ground and still combative, the inmate bit one officer in the finger. Staff applied handcuffs and the inmate became compliant. The officer was transported to Gouverneur Hospital for treatment.
  • On Monday, April 15, an officer entered a dorm bathroom and ordered an inmate to exit the bathroom for loitering inside. The inmate became argumentative and struck the officer in the mouth. He was quickly forced to the ground where he remained combative and attempted to kick at staff. Once handcuffs were applied, he became compliant.
  • On Monday, April, 15, an officer conducting security rounds observed an inmate with a laceration to his face. He was taken to the infirmary where it was determined he was cut with an unknown type weapon. Officers determined that the inmate was cut in the bathroom by another inmate.
  • On Monday, April 15, an officer sustained knee and elbow injuries when an inmate, under the influence of an unknown intoxicant, spun off the wall during a pat frisk and attacked the officer.
  • On Wednesday, April 17, an officer observed an inmate inside one of the dorms with a laceration to his cheek. The inmate, who was under the influence of an unknown intoxicant, was brought to the infirmary to be treated and it was determined he was cut by another inmate inside the dorm’s bathroom.
  • On Wednesday, April 17, a search of inmates’ cubes inside one of the facility dorms, recovered four make-shift weapons from individual inmate’s cubes. A sharpened piece of ceramic tile, two ceramic blades and a pen with a sharpened tweezer melted into it was recovered.
  • On Friday, April, 19, an officer conducting a pat frisk of an inmate recovered a ceramic cutting type weapon from inside an inmate’s pants pocket. The weapon was wrapped in toilet paper inside the pocket.
  • On Tuesday, April 23, an officer on rounds observed two inmates inside a cell in the RRU fighting. He gave several orders for them to stop but the orders were ignored. Two rounds of OC spray were administered into the cell with no effect. Staff observed the inmates fighting on the floor of the cell and one of the inmates was attempting to wrap a telephone cord around the other inmate’s neck. The cell door was opened and staff separated the inmates. Once separated, the inmates became compliant.
  • On Wednesday, April 24, an inmate being escorted from the RRU to the infirmary was found with a ceramic cutting weapon on him.
  • On Friday, April 26, one officer needed to be treated at Gouverneur Hospital for hand and back injuries after an inmate inside the infirmary attacked staff. Initially, the inmate was being disruptive and ignoring orders from staff to calm down. He spit on staff and attempted to head butt a sergeant. The inmate was taken to the ground where he remained combative until handcuffs were applied.

The dozen incidents that occurred at Gouverneur you would like to think were an anomaly,
but unfortunately the level of violence in all our prisons is continuing to escalate. The violence
and the drugs and weapons do not ever take a break and they make it extremely challenging for
our membership. It is difficult on any given day to carry out daily routines when you add in the
violence and contraband that exists in every prison. Already short staffed and stretched thin with mandatory overtime, the State Legislators who supported the disastrous HALT Act should focus on addressing the on-going violence instead of coddling and advocating for violent inmates.

Bryan Hluska, NYSCOPBA Central Region Vice President.

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