MONROE, Wash. – A female mental health counselor was attacked Wednesday at the Monroe Correctional Complex.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections says an inmate, Darrel Curtis Holm, held the counselor against a wall in the Special Offender Unit just after noon.
A statement by the union representing DOC staff says Holm, a mentally ill inmate, entered the counselor’s office, grabbed her around her neck and put a pen to her throat threatening to hold her hostage.
The counselor was alone in the office at the time.
The union says correctional officers immediately responded and had to pry the offender off of the staff member’s throat.
“We have been saying for months that there is an urgent need for fundamental changes at the DOC to ensure the safety of Correctional Employees. This incident reinforces that need,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 117.
The DOC says Holm, 44, told the counselor that he wanted to be convicted of a new felony because he does not want to be released from prison on his maximum-release date in December. He has been in prison since 2003 for burglary convictions in King County.
The Washington State Reformatory has been on full lockdown since Jan. 29 when Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl was found dead inside the chapel at the Reformatory. The other four living units, including the Special Offender Unit, have been on a modified lockdown, which means offenders are allowed to spend limited time outside their cells.