Scrutiny on prisons heightened after another attack

Oct 30, 2017

This week saw yet another inmate attack on a correctional officers, this time at the N.C. Correctional Institution for Women in Raleigh. Thankfully, the unnamed officer was treated and released from the hospital with no life threatening injuries.

SEANC Executive Director Mitch Leonard stood up for officers in the story, saying, "Officers work 12- to 16-hour shifts supervising as many as 100 inmates with nothing more than a three-ounce can of pepper spray to defend themselves. And for this risk, they do not even receive law enforcement benefits. This is unjust to the employees and unsafe for the public. It's time to stop sweeping this problem under the rug before more lives are lost."

This morning, The Charlotte Observer published a frightening story about Rosie Anderson, a District 45 member and correctional officer at Central Prison, who was severely beaten by an inmate in 2015.

David Guice, the chief deputy secretary for adult correction and juvenile justice, announced this week that he is stepping down at the end of the month following the attack at Pasquotank Correctional on Oct. 12 that claimed the lives of two state employees. The News & Observer published a recounting of the attack by an officer on the scene.

It’s a sad indictment on the state of our prisons and officer safety when these attacks are now commonplace. A correctional officer in North Carolina is attacked every eight hours, on average.

Hopefully, the current scrutiny on the problems at our prison will cause lawmakers to take notice. The Fayetteville Observer wrote an editorial this week saying, “We hope the governor and lawmakers will also take a hard look at funding, staffing and training at the state’s prisons.”

We agree. It’s time that lawmakers give our correctional officers a fighting chance. They need the resources and policies in place to come home safely.