OBSERVER Staff Report
A sergeant and two correction officers have been treated and released from a hospital following an incident on Wednesday at the medium-security Gowanda Correctional Facility. The incident also involved nine inmates who are facing possible criminal prosecution by the Erie County District Attorney.
According to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, this isolated incident started after a verbal confrontation between a correction officer and an inmate in the shower area, and then escalated at the officer's station. There were no weapons involved in this incident. The nine inmates were brought under control, but not before the sergeant and two officers suffered injuries. The two officers were taken by ambulance to Lakeshore Hospital, where they were treated and released. The two officers are home recuperating; one from a laceration in his ear and possible concussion, the other with a shoulder injury, broken tooth and a swollen eye. The sergeant was evaluated at Gowanda for bruising.
None of the names of the inmates or those injured were released.
Acting Commissioner Anthony J. Annucci said, "Our thoughts today are with our co-workers and their families. I will not tolerate this type of behavior. The safety of our staff is paramount to me, and this department will do everything we can to make sure all inmates involved are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If found guilty these inmates could face consecutive felony sentences."
The inmates at Gowanda are confined to their housing units pending the outcome of the investigation. All nine inmates believed to be involved have been transferred to other prisons.
This is the first assault on staff at Gowanda since November, 2013. Last year there were five assaults on staff at this facility. The Gowanda inmate population count Wednesday was 1,466. The total capacity of the facility is 1,763.
New York State Police responded and are now investigating.