December 29, 2017
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R, Corning) issued the following statement:
Assemblyman Phil Palmesano today expressed his deepest concern for the correction officer who was assaulted by two inmates at Groveland Correctional Facility on Saturday. The brutal attack left the officer with cuts to his face and chest and bloody facial wounds.
“This is what our correction officers are facing every day. This is unacceptable and we can’t stand for it any longer. These brave men and women are on the front lines of public safety and this administration is turning its back on them by not providing the tools and resources they need to do their job and be safe,” said Palmesano.
For Palmesano, a member of the Assembly Committee on Correction, this grisly assault exemplifies a continuous and disturbing trend- closing facilities and slashing staff budgets has made our prisons too crowded, too dangerous and too violent.
The governor has closed 13 facilities during his tenure. “I’m going to go down in the history books as the governor who closed the most prisons in the history of the state of New York and I am proud of it,” he announced last year.
Palmesano says housing the prison population in fewer facilities has created a pressure- cooker environment that isn’t fair to officers or the inmates whose rehabilitation they work to facilitate.
“There were 760 assaults on correction officers last year, up 45 percent from 2012. In addition, inmate on inmate violence is up 74 percent during this same time period. This is unacceptable. During the upcoming Legislative Session, we need to finally address this dangerous environment in our correctional facilities to ensure the safety of our correction officers, staff and the inmates residing there. For me, it starts with increasing staffing levels, hiring more officers, finally ending the dangerous practice of double-bunking and double-celling inmates and giving law enforcement officials more tools and discretion in how they can protect themselves and inmates who are truly working to pay their debt to society and improve their lives,” said Palmesano.
“Today, my thoughts and prayers are with the victim. Imagine getting jumped and punched in the face by two violent felons. Imagine knowing it happened hundreds and hundreds of times last year, and knowing that this administration is not listening or taking action to address this problem. It’s time the Cuomo administration starts to worry more about our correction officers and not just the inmates, and provides the necessary tools and resources back into our correctional facilities so the brave men and women working this dangerous job to keep us safe know we have their backs,” said Palmesano.