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Prison guards sue inmates over assaults

SALEM, Ore., March 13 (UPI) — Three Oregon prison guards have filed lawsuits against inmates who physically assaulted them.

The suits are part of a concerted push by the Association of Oregon Corrections Employees, The Statesman Journal of Salem, Ore., reported. The four lawsuits — one guard filed separate actions against two inmates — were filed last month in Marion County Circuit Court.

Each seeks $20,000 in damages.

Three of the inmates are described in prison records as being “severely mentally ill” while the fourth is described as having symptoms of mental illness, the newspaper said. In some cases, inmates themselves said they planned the attacks with one saying he asked an officer to get a handball for him to get him in a position where he could easily be assaulted.

Union President Mike Van Patten said the goal of taking legal action is to make inmates accountable for their actions.

“We’re doing this partly to get the staff members some closure,” he said. “Post-traumatic stress disorder rates are quite high in this industry.”

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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