The labor union representing Illinois prison guards says assaults on staff are way up, and state officials aren’t doing enough about it.
Roberta Lynch, the head of AFSCME, said too often, the Department of Corrections only increases staff or repairs equipment after correctional officers are assaulted.
“We don’t want people to have to be injured in order for change to come about," Lynch said.
Both AFSCME and the Illinois Department of Corrections agree that assaults on staff have increased in recent years. Prison officials said they take staff safety “very seriously.” They said some increase in assaults is expected as Illinois changes the way it deals with inmates who have mental illness.
The state has agreed to improve such treatment in order to settle a lawsuit.