As reported by NJ.com, the recent brutal attack on a State Correction Officer at East Jersey State Prison has union officials calling for the passage of a bill that would make compensation similar to that of police officers and firefighters injured on duty.

On the morning of December 31, Daniel Campione, a Correction Officer at the prison, was escorting inmates back to their cells and securing the cells when an inmate “began to verbally abuse” Campione.  The inmate ultimately charged the officer and began “hitting him in his head with a closed fist,” according to a statement released from the Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 105 (“P.B.A. #105”), which represents New Jersey’s rank-and-file correction officers. Correction officers in the area responded and gained control of the inmate.

Campione was treated at the prison for “numerous contusions and lacerations on his head and face.”  He was then taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in Rahway for further treatment.  He is expected to recover from his injuries, officials said, but will be unable to work for an unknown period of time.

P.B.A. #105 President Brian Renshaw said, “Attacks like the one we saw…are becoming all too common in New Jersey’s state prisons.” Renshaw is now calling for the passage of a bill introduced two years ago to ensure officers “will not be asked to receive anything less than full pay for injuries suffered at the hands of inmates inside our prisons,” the statement said.  According to the Union, passing the bill would give correction officers similar compensation to that of state and local police officers injured while on duty.

Currently, prison and juvenile detention workers must apply for workers’ compensation when injured on the job, the union said “making significantly less than their regular salary.”  Renshaw added, “It is my hope that the New Jersey Legislature will fully understand what is at risk when deciding on how to act on this legislation.”