Punched in the face, spat on with blood: Prison officers assaulted at Hakea Prison

Wednesday 20 Feb 2013

A female officer was punched in the face, while her colleague had blood spat in his face at Hakea prison yesterday.

The officers were assaulted when they intervened in an altercation between two prisoners at the video court area, where prisoners attend court via video link.

The female officer suffered cuts to her face requiring treatment from one prisoner; while the other prisoner involved in the fight spat blood in a male officer’s face.

Exposure to prisoners’ bodily fluids was a major concern for officers, with the threat of transmission of blood-borne diseases like hepatitis and HIV, said WA Prison Officers’ Union Secretary John Welch.

“Being a prison officer is dangerous work. Our prison officers deal with dangerous and violent offenders every day,” said Mr Welch.

“The State Government can support prison officers by providing proper staffing levels at prisons, new prison facilities to deal with chronic overcrowding, and fair pay and conditions that respect the risks prison officers take.

“We are now seeing the Liberal Party run their election campaign on a law and order platform. It is essential that any measure that sees more offenders being held in our prisons is matched by the funding to keep our prisons safe for prisoners and officers.”

There have been more than 20 assaults on prison officers so far this year and about 100 over the past 12 months.