OBSERVER Staff Report
COLLINS - In a pair of violent incidents perpetrated by the same inmate, four corrections officers were assaulted with two requiring hospital treatment this past weekend at Collins Correctional Facility.
On Friday, inmate Jonathan Onn assaulted two officers and a sergeant while attempting to break away as he was being escorted through the facility. Onn kicked one of the officers and all four men were subsequently knocked to the ground during the ensuing melee. Two officers were sent to the hospital, where one was treated for a sprained wrist and the other for a broken finger. Both remained out of work this weekend. Meanwhile, the sergeant sustained a broken toe in the incident but remained on duty.
In a separate incident on Sunday, inmate Onn hid under his bunk and threw what is believed to be urine at an officer, hitting him in the nose, eyes and mouth. The officer was treated by a doctor. The New York State Police have been notified and charges are expected to be filed against Onn.
These assaults follow a string of violent incidents at Five Points Correctional Facility last week.
Last week, the New York State Correctional Officers Police Benevolent Associa-tion (NYSCOPBA) released a fact sheet detailing dangerously low staffing levels throughout the state's correctional system. According to the Department of Cor-rections and Community Supervision's (DOCCS) own formula, there are 727 fewer corrections officers than considered necessary to safely guard New York's prisons, and 238 less than the staffing level approved by the State Division of Budget.
NYSCOPBA states that though the prison population in New York State has decreased by 8 percent since 2009, working in New York's corrections system is less safe today than it was four years ago. Since 2009, the rate of inmate on staff assaults has increased by 7.6 percent, while escape incidents have quadrupled and contraband incidents are up nearly 5 percent.
Based on DOCCS statistics, the likelihood of a correction officer or Sergeant being assaulted by an inmate is at its highest level since 2007 correction officers were 13 percent more likely to be assaulted by an inmate in 2011 than they were in 2007. Though the inmate population declined, the rate of violent incidents hasn't decreased enough to keep pace with the loss of staff. NYSCOPBA continues to call for an independent review of the entire correctional system.