Prison officers injured in separate incidents

Prison officers are to raise concerns over safety with the Minister for Justice after three officers were injured in two separate incidents in the Midlands Prison yesterday.

One prison officer was slashed in the back by a homemade knife or ‘shiv’ when he intervened in a fight involving three inmates on a stairwell in the jail’s E Wing, which houses sex offenders.

Then, in a separate incident, two prison officers received injuries when they tried to remove a prisoner who was not complying with an instruction. It is understood that an officer may have broken an ankle after twisting it, while another twisted a knee.

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Officers Association (IPOA) said the officer injured in the shiv incident received 14 stitches when he was slashed across the lower back.

It is understood the officer had been trying to intervene in a fight between three inmates, and was not targeted in the attack.

However, John Clinton of the IPOA said that this was of “little consolation”, adding: “We would be deeply concerned with members getting injured in the line of duty.”

Claiming officers had a “reasonable expectation” of being safe while at work, Mr Clinton said the results of a member ballot on safety concerns are due this Wednesday, when the IPOA is also due to raise concerns with Justice Minister, Frances Fitzgerald, over the recent incident in which two prison officers were stabbed by a prisoner in Tallaght Hospital who subsequently escaped.

Mr Clinton also queried whether the system of categorisation of prisoners was “flawed”.

The Irish Prison Service confirmed that the two incidents had taken place yesterday the Midlands Prison and that it was investigating. Details were also reported to the gardaí for the purposes of any future investigation, with a spokesman also saying that the thoughts of the Prison Service were with the men who were injured and their families.

All three officers were treated for a time in hospital before being discharged in the afternoon.


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