Two correctional officers needed medical treatment on Wednesday after they were attacked by inmates in the Riverside Correctional Facility, officials said.
It’s unclear what sparked the first inmate at the women’s jail on State Road near Ashburner Street in Holmesburg to attack the officer around 9 a.m., said correctional officers’ union president Lorenzo North. When the first inmate attacked and another officer attempted to subdue her, North said, additional inmates joined the fray, prompting a call for backup from officers throughout the jail.
“It could have gotten out of control. It could have been a riot,” North said Wednesday afternoon.
When officers placed the fight under control, two were in need of medical attention, North said – one for shortness of breath and another for minor neck injuries sustained in the scuffle.
North blamed the incident on overcrowding in the jails, and said that though there are supposed to be three officers per housing pod at Riverside, only two were working the pod where the fight broke out.
“It may not have stopped the situation from happening, but it may have made a difference,” North said.
He added that in another recent incident at Riverside, one inmate cut another’s eye on Friday.
The inmates involved in Wednesday morning’s attack and subsequent dustup could face assault charges for hitting the officers.