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Female Correction Officer Assaulted at Shirley Prison

After the incident, DOC officials said the inmate at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center lit items inside his cell on fire

NBC10 Boston

A female correction officer was assaulted Tuesday afternoon by an inmate at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center, in Shirley, Massachusetts, according to a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections.

The attack happened around noon in one of the prison's restrictive housing units while the officer was dispensing medication through the food slot of the inmate's door, the spokesman said.

"The female officer was forcibly grabbed by the inmate while trying to secure the food slot, but she was able to pull free," read a statement from the state Department of Corrections.

After the incident, officials said the inmate lit items inside his cell on fire, prompting staff to evacuate him and extinguish the blaze.

Inmates in nearby cells also had to be evacuated and were treated for smoke inhalation, according to the DOC.

The correction officer and the inmate who initiated the attack were taken to area hospitals for treatment. Their conditions are unclear.

The incident remains under investigation.

Last month, a correction officer was surrounded and assaulted by a number of inmates in the N1 general population housing unit, authorities said.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts announced a lawsuit earlier this month alleging that the facility created "lawless and inhuman conditions" for inmates.

After one of the officers radioed for help, additional officers responded and secured the area. The prison was placed in lockdown during the incident.

Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center is a maximum-security prison with about 1,000 inmates. It is the newest state correctional facility in Massachusetts, having opened in 1998.

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