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2 Stillwater Prison Guards Assaulted By Inmate During Routine Cell Search

STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) -- An inmate attack inside an eastern Minnesota prison left two guards requiring hospitalization over the weekend, according to the Minnesota Department of Corrections.

The incident took place during a routine cell search Saturday afternoon at Minnesota Correctional Facility-Stillwater.

One of the officers was treated and released from a Stillwater hospital. The other officer was "more significantly injured" and taken to Regions Hospital in St. Paul, corrections officials said. The second officer was released just after 12 a.m. Sunday.

Officials said the inmate responsible for the assault has been moved to the correctional facility in Oak Park Heights.

"There are no braver professionals than our state's Corrections Officers who come to work each day to serve the State of Minnesota and keep the rest of us safe. We honor these officers and all those involved in the quick and professional response," the Department of Corrections release said.

The Stillwater prison meanwhile remains on lockdown during an investigation. Officials say they are trying to determine how the incident connects with another assault in late January "and other issues in the facility."

In 2018, an inmate murdered 45-year-old corrections Officer Joseph Gomm at the Stillwater prison.

In response to the assault, AFSCME Council 5 Executive Director Julie Bleyhl and the AFSCME Corrections Policy Committee released a joint statement, saying the union "remains gravely concerned" about increases in assaults on correctional security staff.

Read the full statement below.

"Two Correctional Officers experienced injuries as a result of being attacked on the job. One correctional officer was repeatedly punched in the face and needed to seek medical treatment. A second correctional officer experienced injuries in the course of the incident and was also taken to the hospital for treatment. Since the attack, both correctional officers have been released from the hospital and one has not returned back to work yet as a result of his injuries.

"Our union remains gravely concerned with the increase in assaults on correctional security staff. These attacks must never become normalized, nor viewed as routine and/or acceptable acts. Attacks on staff also cannot be met with a response as usual. These attacks are unacceptable and we call for accountability of those who commit these violent attacks on staff who conduct their work every day with integrity and bravery.

"For many years, our union has publicly expressed our significant concerns with the large increases in staff assaults. We renew our call for the Department of Corrections to prioritize the need to protect the safety of workers and all persons in these facilities over the wants of those incarcerated. Without proper safety and security in correctional facilities in place first, critical programming needs will not work effectively at reducing recidivism and reforming offenders. We need the Department to work directly with workers to develop robust security staffing plans to prevent staff assaults and support the critical work of correctional staff. We will work to ensure policies and procedures work effectively at ensuring correctional facilities are safe and officers, staff, and their families who are impacted by incidents are prioritized with robust after care and resources are provided as quickly as possible. We will never relent on our union's mission to ensure safe staffing in every workplace across our state."

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