Gov. Charlie Baker Sunday visited the three correctional officers who were attacked by a group of inmates two days earlier at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley.
“They were badly injured, but able to share their thoughts on what happened,” Baker, who was joined by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, said in a tweet. “Very grateful they were there for each other.”
@KarynPolito and I just visited with the Correctional Officers who were attacked on Friday and their families. They were badly injured, but able to share their thoughts on what happened. Very grateful they were there for each other.
— Charlie Baker (@CharlieBakerMA) January 12, 2020
The three guards were assaulted around 10:45 a.m. Friday inside a general population housing unit, according to the Massachusetts Department of Correction.
In a video shared by the department on social media, one of the guards can be seen speaking to an inmate before the prisoner strikes the officer.
Other inmates join as the officer is knocked to the ground and kicked, and additional guards arrive at the scene, the video shows.
“One of the correction officers involved in this incident immediately radioed for assistance,” the department said in a statement Friday, according to the Associated Press. “Additional correction officers responded and within minutes secured the area. Six inmates have been removed from the unit and the matter remains under investigation.”
The prison was placed in lockdown, thereby restricting inmate visits and movements, the AP reported.
The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office was notified of the incident, and the inmates involved “will be facing internal discipline,” the statement said, according to The Boston Globe.
The three guards were brought to a hospital, where one underwent surgery Friday.
“Due to the quick efforts by responding officers, life-threatening injuries were prevented in this incident,” the department wrote on Facebook. “We wish a speedy recovery for the officers involved.”
In a statement Friday, the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union said the guards were “seriously assaulted, resulting in severe injury.”
The union blamed the assault on recently enacted legislation, which it said provides for “more relaxed rules and regulations.”
“This legislation grants inmates more rights, freedom, housing, and tier time,” the union said. “This has allowed inmates to manipulate the system, and engage in violent action, increased gang activity, intimidation and assaults on officers and other inmates.”
The law “makes it inherently difficult for officers to do their job, and provide the security necessary, to make institutions more safe and secure,” the statement said.
Inmates once housed at the prison include former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez, who died by suicide in his cell in 2017.