Corrections officers talk about dangers they face on job

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The prison siege in Delaware serves to remind us that for corrections officers, danger is a routine part of the job. (WPVI)

The prison siege in Delaware serves to remind us that for corrections officers, danger is a routine part of the job.

Action News spoke with a corrections officer Thursday night who wished to remain anonymous, but knew all too well what law enforcement were dealing with as the hostage situation unfolded at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.

"I was in Holmesburg in 1989," said the officer. "It brings back a whole lot of memories. To see them guys laying in the yard, and being escorted back in the jail. Ours had a happy ending, we didn't lose any lives."

But officers say the dangers on the job are constant.

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Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility is the Philadelphia Prison System's largest facility, housing about 2,500 male inmates, overseen by 562 corrections officers who learned Thursday morning of the sergeant's death in Delaware.



"Everything that goes on in the streets comes into the jail, and we are the police in there. And the only thing we have is a whistle, a key and pepper spray," said the officer.

Just last year, Lorenzo North, Local 159 president, tells us, "We had I would say over 20 assaults on staff."

And according to North, that doesn't include what's not reported.

"It's stressful. You don't know what's going to happen. A fight can break out any time," said North.

Action News spoke to a corrections officer on medical leave after she was assaulted by a prisoner. She shared a photo with us that showed her after receiving stitches in her head.

"We take for granted they have leg cuffs and hand cuffs, but look what happened. ... He assaulted me, he did damage to me," said the officer.

We asked the injured officer if she feels safe to return to work.

"At this time, no. I can't say how I am going to feel later, but at this time, no," said the officer.

Some of the officers say one of the things they worry about now are copycats at their own jobs, though prisons in our area have not reported any issues since Wednesday's incident.
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