Union: Teen inmates choked, beat guard

Adirondack Correctional Facility in Ray Brook, seen from Haystack Mountain, is now the Adirondack Adolescent Offender Facility. (Photo provided — Marc Wanner, Historic Saranac Lake)

RAY BROOK — The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association said teenaged inmates choked and beat a corrections officer nearly to unconsciousness during a physical altercation Monday at the Adirondack Adolescent Offender Facility.

Prison security staff responded to a disruption involving three inmates in a housing unit, according to the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

In a statement Wednesday, NYSCOPBA Northern Region Vice President John Roberts said “a correction officer was injured after an inmate, who is newly classified as a juvenile, attacked the officer and choked him almost unconscious while another inmate punched him several times.” Several officers who responded to the incident were also injured while stopping the attack, Roberts said.

DOCCS said three corrections officers were hurt while attempting to de-escalate the incident and had to be evaluated and treated for injuries at Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, before being released.

No inmates were injured during the de-escalation of the incident, according to DOCCS.

“The attack was unprovoked and is an example that our officers need the necessary resources, like (Oleoresin Capsicum) spray, to contain situations like this, while limiting their exposure to injuries,” Roberts said. “OC spray” is the technical name for pepper spray.

In light of recent Raise the Age laws raising New York’s age of criminal responsibility to 18, the Ray Brook state prison was transitioned in fall 2018 from an adult facility to one that holds only 16- and 17-year-old inmates, who are classified as adolescent offenders. An adolescent offender is 16 or 17 at the time of a serious offense.