PINCKNEYVILLE - A Pinckneyville Correctional Center inmate struck a center security staff member in the face Thursday during a routine line movement, which prompted prison officials to order and place the unit on lockdown.
The officer was taken to the prison's health care unit where he was treated for a black eye.
Prisoners were being escorted during a routine line movement on Thursday morning when the prisoner stepped out of line and "aggressively struck the officer in the face. If you don't see something like this coming, you can imagine how severe it was. It was unseen and unprovoked," said security guard Randy Hellmann, president of Local Union 943 at Pinckneyville.
Hellman said the prisoner who allegedly provoked the assault was probably not one of more than 25 recently transferred inmates from recently closed maximum security units ordered shutdown by Gov. Pat Quinn.
There have been more life-sentenced inmate transfers to the Pinckneyville unit this week, he said. Placement of prisoners from maximum security units into medium-security units is causing problems as there is a relaxing of disciplinary standards for the maximum prisoners, giving them a sense of empowerment, Hellmann said.
Hellmann said he spent most of Thursday in discussions with Illinois Department of Corrections officials about the impact of mixing prisoners of various levels in the same setting.
"This is not a staffing issue. It's a placement issue. You don't put the most dangerous inmates where they are not supposed to be housed," Hellmann said.
It's the second lockdown at Pinckneyville within a month. On Dec. 7, an inmate attacked and injured a guard forcing a lockdown.
A spokesman with IDOC had not commented on the incident as of this report.