Recently, there has been an increase in inmate violence against corrections officers. As it stands, officers who are injured in the line of duty are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Lawmakers, however, are recognizing that a violent inmate attack is different than a typical Workers’ Compensation injury like an on-the-job slip-and-fall accident. A new bill seeks to establish a fund to help officers who are victims of inmate violence to receive total compensation, as opposed to ordinary Workers’ Compensation benefits.
An Increase In Attacks
Few would disagree that being a corrections officer is one of the most dangerous jobs there is. Even officers in juvenile facilities are known to suffer severe injuries inflicted by their minor charges. Unions who represent New Jersey’s corrections officers have recently reported in increase in violent inmate attacks.
Many people are weighing in and speculating as to what is causing this recent spike in violent incidents. Union officials blame prosecutors for failing to charge perpetrators with crimes, as well as a reluctance to place attackers in solitary confinement. President of the New Jersey Enforcement Supervisors Association agrees. He has attributed the increase in violent attacks to a national trend away from using administrative segregation and solitary confinement as a means of punishing inmates. However, Alexander Shalom, a lawyer for the New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, says that there is no evidence that solitary confinement serves as a deterrent.
Corrections Officers Are Paying The Price
When inmates lash out, officers can suffer long-term injury, permanent injury and in extreme cases, even death. Currently, officers attacked by inmates or injured during prison riots are eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits. Although Workers’ Compensation covers a large portion of an injured officer’s regular salary, officers still suffer a reduction in pay while recovering from their on-the-job injuries. In contrast, many police officers in New Jersey receive full benefits and salary following an on-the-job injury.
Lawmakers Propose a Solution
In order to remedy this problem, some New Jersey legislators have proposed to establish a fund to help corrections officers who are injured in prison riots or inmate attacks. If passed, this bill will restore full benefits to corrections officers injured by acts of violence. According to Assemblyman Daniel Benson (D-Mercer), one of the measure’s sponsors, inmate attacks should be treated different than the ordinary workplace slip-and-fall accident—crimes are being committed against these employees.
New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Shebell & Shebell Get Compensation For Corrections Officers Injured At Work
Although there is disagreement as to what is causing the recent spike in inmate attacks, everyone seems to agree that corrections officers are paying the price. The trusted New Jersey Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Shebell & Shebell stay up to date on trends facing New Jersey workers, and counsel our clients how to proceed to get the maximum benefits they are entitled to.
We represent clients throughout New Jersey, including Monmouth County, Middlesex County, and Ocean County, including Howell, Freehold, Middletown, Shrewsbury, Wall, Keansburg, Asbury Park, Long Branch, Union Beach and Neptune. For a free consultation, call us at 866-957-5237 or contact us online today.