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Infection fear after inmate's blood lands in prison officer's mouth

FILE PHOTO
FILE PHOTO

A PRISON officer who saved an inmate’s life by pulling him away from a sustained and violent attack from other prisoners faces a nervous wait for test results after getting blood splashed into his mouth during the incident

The warden is a new recruit to the role of officer, and was one of two staff injured in the incident that occurred in the remand prison in west Dublin on Tuesday.

The Herald has learned that the attack was sparked when the inmate arrived at the recreation area in the jail’s C Division.

“It seems this prisoner came into the wrong area among prisoners who obviously hold some grudge against him, and it sparked a reaction from a number of inmates who then
attacked him,” said a source.

“They were laying into him hard and the two prison officers had to wade in and separate them all. While pulling the victim away, one got a splash of blood in his mouth and
the second received hand and shoulder injuries.

“Both the officers were treated in hospital and the man who got the blood in his mouth had to undergo tests to make sure he does not acquire any blood-borne infections.”

It is not known if the prisoner who was bleeding carries any of the diseases but the officer was tested in line with prison protocol.

“The worry and anxiety for the officer regarding a blood-borne disease is significant as his life is put on pause until he gets the medical all-clear, which in
itself can have psychological ramifications for himself and his family,” said Jim Mitchell, deputy general secretary of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA), when approached for comment.

A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service said it could not comment on individual cases or incidents.

The issue of having to deal with violent fights between prisoners, and the number of increasing attacks on officers with no equipment such as batons or pepper spray
to help them, was raised by prison officers at their annual association meeting in May.