Prison officer attacked by inmate awarded compensation by courts13 November 2012
Injured at Work
A prison officer who was attacked by an inmate who had been transferred from HMP Broadmoor because of bad behaviour has received compensation after it was revealed prison staff hadn’t been warned about the prisoner's aggressive history.
The 45-year-old from Bicester suffered a badly fractured jaw in the attack at HMP Bullingdon, a category B prison. He had to endure a liquid diet for four months and wore jaw braces for several more.
He was attacked when attempting to interview the inmate on his own. He knew nothing of the prisoner’s extremely violent past which included being sentenced for GBH or that he had been moved from HMP Broadmoor because he was too violent for them to deal with, following assaults on other staff and inmates.
This particular individual had very specific triggers for his violence, which the prison doctor was aware of, but which was not communicated to other staff. Staff should have been told not to deal with the prisoner on their own and been made aware of the risk of being violently attacked.
On the day of the attack the Prison Officers Association (POA) member was planning to hand in an application for promotion to become a principle officer but his injuries meant he went straight to hospital and was unable to apply.
When he eventually returned to work he was on light duties for several months. It is only now, four years after the accident, that he has finally been promoted to Custodial Manager, a role on the same level as principle officer.
Thompsons Solicitors made a Personal Injury Claim
Following the attack he contacted the POA which instructed its lawyers Thompsons Solicitors to pursue a claim for compensation against the Ministry of Justice.
Thompsons argued that the member should have been made aware of the inmate's violent history and told not to approach him on his own.
The case went to a three day trial at Oxford County Court where a judge ruled that the POA member should be awarded more than £28,000 in compensation.
The Judge said the Prison Service was aware of the dangers the inmate posed and should have warned its staff.
The POA member said: "The first four months after the accident were hell. My jaw was wired shut and I was on a liquid diet. Even after the wires were taken out I had to have extensive orthodontic work done to my teeth so my jaw lined up again.
"It was disappointing to miss out on a promotion. I've finally reached the promoted level now, four years later. The pain and disappointment of the last four years could have been avoided had I known just how dangerous this inmate was in the first place."
POA Legal Officer Glyn Travis said: "It is unbelievable that officers weren't warned about the hazards in dealing with this inmate. He was transferred from HMP Broadmoor for violent behaviour yet our member was allowed to deal with him on a one to one basis. It is no surprise that he ended up suffering from a very serious and painful injury.”
Joanne Evans from Thompsons Solicitors added: "Communication is a vital component in any workforce and this accident could have been avoided had officers been warned about this prisoner's violent history. Steps should have been taken to ensure that no officer was put in a position of danger when dealing with this very aggressive inmate."
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