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Union: Inmate broke CO’s jaw

The wall of Clinton Correctional Facility looms over the community of Dannemora in June 2015. (Enterprise photo — Matthew Turner)

DANNEMORA — A Clinton Correctional Facility officer sustained two fractures to the jaw, bruising and swelling around the eyes after he was knocked unconscious by an inmate Monday night, according to the correction officers’ union.

The inmate, who is serving a 16-year manslaughter sentence, reportedly attacked the CO in the recreation yard shortly after 8 p.m., the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association said.

Another CO saw his co-worker drop to the ground in the north yard after the alleged assault, the union continued. The CO was unconscious by the time staff arrived and was brought to the medical facilities in the prison before being transported to a local hospital, NYSCOPBA said.

Special housing unit

The inmate was reportedly witnessed walking away from the attack and attempting to blend in with other inmates before being identified by staff.

He was placed in a special housing unit pending disciplinary proceedings, NYSCOPBA said.

The inmate, who the union did not identify, was originally convicted of first-degree manslaughter, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and first-degree attempting to promote prison contraband in Rensselaer County after he shot and killed a man in Troy, NYSCOPBA said.

“During the inmate’s sentencing in Rensselaer County Court in 2013, the mother of the victim who was shot and killed implored him to take his time in prison and turn his life around and become something valuable to society,” NYSCOPBA Northern Region Vice President John Roberts said in a statement.

“Obviously what she said that day had no meaning to him. This attack on the officer Monday was an unprovoked, vicious attack that will have no real consequences with a disciplinary system already weakened. Unfortunately that will continue with the recent HALT legislation.

“Every legislator who supported that bill needs to recognize all they have done is create a more dangerous atmosphere for officers.”

Zero tolerance

The HALT Solitary Confinement Act, which aims to limit solitary confinement in New York prisons, was signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo April 1.

The state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision confirmed an incident took place in the prison yard, but did not offer details nor did they identify the inmate or CO who was injured.

“A serious assault on staff did occur at Clinton Correctional Facility on Monday night, which resulted in a correction officer being transported to a local hospital for medical treatment,” DOCCS spokesperson Rachel Connors said.

“The department has zero tolerance for violence and will pursue both disciplinary charges and criminal prosecution for the assault. A new felony conviction would result in a consecutive sentence of imprisonment.

“Due to the ongoing investigation, the department cannot comment further at this time.”

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