Macomb 91.3fm - Galesburg 90.7fm Keokuk 89.5fm - Burlington 106.3fm
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Attacks on Galesburg prison staff an ongoing problem

Jane Carlson
Tri States Public Radio

Two female employees of Henry C. Hill Correctional Center in Galesburg required hospital treatment Friday after being injured in an attack by a prisoner.

A sergeant and an officer were repeatedly punched in the head and face after attempting to stop a prisoner they suspected was passing contraband, according to a news release from AFSCME Council 31.

One suffered an apparent broken nose and the other was struck in her ear.

But the attack on prison employees was not an isolated incident.

Anders Lindall, public affairs director for AFCSME Council 31, told TSPR that assaults on staff are an ongoing problem at Hill.

In December, there were eight attacks on Hill staff, with three requiring outside medical treatment. There were another eight assaults on staff in January with three needing outside treatment and there were five assaults on staff in February.

“This violent assault on AFSCME members just doing their jobs underscores the daily threats that employees face in Illinois prisons,” said Roberta Lynch, executive director AFSCME Council 31, in the news release.

Another ongoing issue at Hill is inadequate staffing.

Lindall said Hill is authorized to have 203 correctional officers, but there are currently only 134 at the prison.

“That's just 66% of the basic frontline security staff. As a result employees are frequently working forced overtime -- 16-hour double shifts,” Lindall said.

Union reps and frontline employees are also asking IDOC to restore consistent disciplinary measures in the prison.

“A facility without enough staff, where employees are overworked, overtired and burning out, and where offenders perceive there are few if any consequences for acting out violently against employees, is a facility that poses a danger to workers, to those in custody and ultimately to the public as well,” Lindall said.

AFSCME Local 1274 President James Stickle visited the injured employees at the hospital.

Hill is a medium security prison that houses more than 1,500 males in custody.

The prison opened in Galesburg in 1986.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Jane Carlson is TSPR's regional reporter.