March 2, 2011 in Region

Guard stabbed in head with pen, others picket for safety

Associated Press
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

During a Teamsters Local Union 117 informational picket, Airway Heights Correctional Facility corrections officer Jeff Rude waves to passing motorists Wednesday, March 2, 2011, in Airway Heights, Wash. State prison workers are demanding immediate steps to improve staff safety at the Department of Corrections.
(Full-size photo)

Even before a correctional officer was stabbed in the head with a pen at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla, Department of Corrections employees represented by the Teamsters union planned picketing at 10 locations in the state today to demand safer working conditions.

The locations for informational picketing include Airway Heights Correctional Center on Spokane’s West Plains, Walla Walla, where the officer was stabbed Tuesday by an inmate in the mental health unit, and Monroe where Correctional Officer Jayme Biendl was strangled Jan. 29 at the Reformatory chapel.

The Penitentiary at Walla Walla is locked down for an investigation of the attack on the guard, who is expected to recover. Two other guards and another inmate suffered minor injuries subduing the attacker, who has been placed in segregation.

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