In late October, an inmate, who had been convicted of attempted murder in 2001, and who was part way through a 20 year sentence at Greene Correctional Facility in Coxsackie, New York, hid inside a locker and attacked a correctional officer when she came into the room.
The correctional officer was alone when she entered the room and then Omar Richardson came out of the locker, and grabbed her by the arms, making sexual innuendos. She managed to get away and having called for help, other correctional officers arrived and restrained the inmate. He was then taken to the maximum security jail in Coxsackie, this assault having been the latest in a string of sex offenses he has committed since he has been in the facility.
The officer who was attacked had been working as a correctional officer for less than a year and she was uninjured in the assault. Those who came to her aid only received minor injuries.
The New York correctional officers’ union has asked the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) to address the situation. They say the fact that prisons have been closed across the country, which led to inmates being reclassified, has given rise to greater risks for correctional officers. They say that in this particular incident, had the inmate managed to restrain the officer, she may well have been raped.
However, the Department of Corrections has denied that there is a link between the increase in attacks on correctional officers and the shutting down of the prisons. They point to the fact that seven prisons were closed in 2011 when there were 563 attacks on officers, but even with the closures the following year the number of assaults decreased to 534.