Surge of violence continues in Collins facility

COLLINS – More than a dozen officers have been injured at Collins Correctional Facility over a 10-day period as inmate violence continues to surge at the medium security correctional facility, the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association Inc. reported in a press release this week.

Incidents, the union said, took place between May 1 and 12.

On May 1, two officers were escorting an inmate when he became disruptive. A third officer responded to assist in controlling the inmate. The inmate punched the officer twice, once in the eye and once to his forehead. Pepper spray was utilized but had no effect on the inmate. He was put in body holds and forced to the ground where he remained combative. The three officers were able to get the inmate’s arms behind his back as he continued to struggle. Handcuffs were applied. Once in handcuffs, the inmate became compliant. The inmate was brought to his feet and escorted to be decontaminated. He was placed in a Special Housing Unit following the attack.

The officer who was punched, sustained pain and swelling to his eye and forehead. The two escort officers sustained hand and shoulder injuries subduing the inmate. The officers were treated by facility medical staff and remained on duty.

“In April eight staff were injured in four separate attacks at Collins Correctional Facility and it is apparent that May will follow suit,” said Kenny Gold, Western Region Vice President for the union. “For most outside observers, they would assume since Collins is a medium security prison, it is relatively free of violence. To the contrary, many of the most serious assaults on staff occur at medium security facilities. The reality is, the inmate population that remains as a result of criminal justice reform in New York, is extremely violent.”

On May 4, two officers were injured when an inmate under the influence of an unknown substance, kicked one officer in the groin and the second officer in his leg and hip as they attempted to get the inmate under control. Initially, the inmate was being pat frisked for contraband before being placed in a holding cell in the infirmary. The inmate became combative. The two officers attempted to gain control of the inmate and all three fell to the floor. On the floor, the inmate kicked both officers. A third officer responded to the attack and assisted in applying handcuffs to the inmate.

One officer sustained groin, hip and neck injuries from being kicked. The second officer sustained leg and hip injuries. Both were treated by facility medical staff and remained on duty.

On Thursday, May 11, five officers were injured and two make shift weapons were recovered during multiple disturbances in one of the facility dorms. Initially, a dorm frisk recovered an ice pick type weapon and a razor hidden in two inmate living cubes. On that same day, five officers sustained minor injuries when inmates fought with officers after creating disturbances in the dorm and officers attempted to stop their actions. The five officers sustained hand, leg, forearm and knee injuries. They were treated by facility medical staff and remained on duty.

An officer sustained two lacerations to his lip that needed six sutures to close after an inmate punched him in the mouth. The attack occurred on Friday, May 12. An officer conducting security rounds in one of the facility dorms observed an inmate who had lost his privileges, sitting in the TV room. The inmate was ordered back to his cube. During the escort from the TV room, the inmate became argumentative. He was ordered to submit to a pat frisk. Before the officer could conduct the frisk, the inmate spun around and punched the officer in the left side of the mouth. The inmate was placed in body holds and forced to the floor. On the floor and still combative, handcuffs were applied. Once in handcuffs, the inmate was brought to his feet and escorted off the unit.

The officer who was punched in the mouth sustained a laceration to his upper and lower lip. He was transported to a local urgent care where he received six sutures to close the two wounds. He has not returned to work as of this date. Two officers who assisted in subduing the inmate sustained minor injuries and remained on duty.

According to the Mid Hudson News, which covers the Hudson Valley and Catskill region, the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision reports that since the HALT Act was enacted on April 1, 2022, there have been more than 3,113 total assaults recorded in New York’s correctional facilities.

The Humane Alternatives to Long-Term Solitary Confinement Act restricts the use of segregated confinement and creates alternative therapeutic and rehabilitative confinement options; limits the length of time a person may be in segregated confinement and excludes certain persons from being placed in segregated confinement.

“Regardless if you work in a maximum security or medium security prison, your safety is in jeopardy every single day you go to work,” Gold said. “As the violence continues to escalate and we near the end of the legislative session, our elected officials have sat idly by and not addressed one concern about the violence. As they enjoy their extended vacations during the summer, I hope they remember our members will continue to work in one of the most dangerous work environments in the state with little support from them.”


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