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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Prison guard stabbed after corrections officials fail to warn of threat

Baltimore SunThe inmate's handwritten letter, addressed to a tier captain in the North Branch Correctional Institution in Cumberland, was clear: Remove two specific corrections officers from the housing unit, or they would be violently attacked.

"I will not let you know when your time has run out," wrote the inmate, who claimed to control the marching orders of other prisoners in the maximum-security state prison.

By Monday, several days after the letter was sent, officials had warned one of the officers named in the letter, but not the other — a violation of corrections department policy, officials said.

About 8:40 a.m. Monday, authorities say, the unwarned officer was stabbed multiple times in the neck and head with a homemade weapon, allegedly by an inmate serving a life sentence for murder.

The officer was rushed to an area hospital with what officials say were non-life-threatening injuries.

The Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services is now investigating the incident "to ascertain why the notification of the threat was not made to the officer," department spokesman Rick Binetti said.

"Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken if staff are found to have violated the notification process," Binetti said.

Union officials say that's not enough.

The stabbing, in which two other officers suffered less severe injuries, was the latest in a string of inmate-on-officer attacks at the North Branch facility this summer. Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Maryland, said 15 officers have been assaulted since the end of June. continue reading...

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