CO stabbed during inmate fight at NC prison

The CO was reportedly stabbed and suffered heavy bleeding after responding to an inmate fight

By Ames Alexander and Gavin Off
The Charlotte Observer

RALEIGH, N.C. — A prison officer and two inmates were injured during a fight at Lanesboro Correctional Institution Thursday morning, state prison officials said.

The confrontation began at about 8:30 a.m., when an inmate assaulted another inmate at the prison in Anson County, according to a statement from N.C. Director of Prisons Kenneth Lassiter.

When prison officers responded, one of the inmates turned and assaulted one of the officers, according to Lassiter. The correctional officer and both inmates were taken to outside medical facilities with non-life-threatening injuries, prison officials said.

Multiple sources told WBTV the prison officer was stabbed and suffered heavy bleeding. A Lanesboro employee, who asked not to be named, told the Observer that two staff members were injured, and that the one who was most badly wounded was a sergeant.

Lanesboro’s close-custody units are on lockdown. Prison officers will seek assault charges on the inmate who initiated the incident, Lassiter said. No further details been released.

Lanesboro, one of North Carolina’s most dangerous and understaffed prisons, has for year been plagued by violence and corruption. Dozens of officers and inmates have been attacked there since it opened in January 2004.

Housing about 1,800 male inmates, Lanesboro is now the state’s largest prison. It’s located about 45 miles southeast of Charlotte.

State prison leaders recently announced that Lanesboro will soon be converted to a women’s prison - a major change that state leaders hope will improve safety and security.

It has been a dangerous time for the state's prison workers.

Five prison employees were fatally attacked inside North Carolina’s prisons last year. In April, Sgt. Meggan Callahan was killed inside Bertie Correctional Institution, allegedly by an inmate who beat her with a fire extinguisher. Less than six months later, four more employees at Pasquotank Correctional Institution were fatally attacked.

Ardis Watkins, a lobbyist for the State Employees Association of North Carolina, told a legislative committee on Thursday afternoon that the attacks on prison officers have become overwhelming. In the months since last year's deaths, she said assaults like the one at Lanesboro have been common.

"This is just what we're expecting to hear at this point," she said.

©2018 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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