Free weights should be removed from maximum and medium security prisons in the Bay State, after a correction officer was "violently assaulted" with gym equipment last week, the Massachusetts Correction Officers Federated Union Executive Board said Tuesday.
Correction Officer Matthew Tidman is on life support after being assaulted by an inmate with a 10-15 pound piece of lead gym equipment last Wednesday at MCI-Shirley, according to the union. The attack was unprovoked, the union said, and happened while the officer was monitoring the gym area. The officer was knocked to the floor, where the inmate allegedly struck him in the head several more times.
The correction officer had to be med flighted to a hospital, after other officers were able to subdue the inmate, the news release said.
The executive board of the union wants the inmate to face prosecution "to the fullest extent of the law to include attempted murder" by the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, which the union is pushing to conduct a full investigation of the incident alongside Massachusetts State Police.
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Additionally, the union's executive board wants to see an investigation into how "such a violent criminal" was in a medium security prison. Union leaders also want to see free weights removed from medium and maximum security prisons immediately.
MCI-Shirley is a medium and minimum security prison that holds male inmates.
Tidman's family has released a statement asking for privacy and thanking everyone for the support they've received through the ordeal.
"We are so thankful for the attentive and kindhearted hospital staff working day and night to support Matt, as he remains in critical condition fighting for his life," the statement read, in part.
"Matt’s correctional officer brothers and sisters have shown how they are a united force who supports their own.
Anyone who knows Matt, knows he is a fighter and will never give up. He is the one to always have your back. Aside from being a character that puts a smile on your face, he is a loving son, brother and uncle."