Oak Park Heights incident marks third prison assault in 2 weeks in Minnesota

Monday’s incident at Oak Park Heights marks the third lockdown in Minnesota prisons in a two-week span. 

With the death of Officer Joseph Parise comes the news of another inmate attack on Minnesota corrections officers. This comes as prison staff continue to call for better staffing, with no results.

“None of us work to die, and this should never, ever happen again," said John Hillyard, DOC Union President, during a press conference on Aug. 1, 2018.

The union representing prison workers spoke out following the death of Officer Joseph Gomm on July 18. Union officials called his death “preventable” and demanded safer conditions. 

Since then, the assaults have continued. Just last week, a corrections officer at Faribault prison was punched in the face by an inmate.

The week before that, the Rush City prison was put on lockdown after an inmate attacked an officer

According to numbers released by the Department of Corrections, inmate assaults of officers are up at many of the state's prisons when compared to last year.

At the two most troubled prisons, the numbers jumped dramatically.

Oak Park Heights assaults increased from 38 in 2017 to 66 in 2018, while at Stillwater assaults more than doubled from 27 in 2017 to 59 in 2018.

The Department of Corrections, like the union, says they want better staffing. A spokesperson has told the media that they’ve asked the legislature for more corrections officers every year for the past eight years, and those requests have not been fulfilled.