Workers’ Compensation for Correctional Officers and Other Prison Workers

Workers’ Compensation for Correctional Officers and Other Prison WorkersOutbreak Among Prison Populations

During this pandemic, prisons have become hotbeds for the infectious disease, COVID-19. New Jersey law recently passed has made it possible for thousands of inmates to be released early, many through public health emergency credits.[1] The push by the state to stem the spread of the coronavirus puts prison populations at the heart of the conversation. Today, two Ohio corrections officers died after testing positive for the coronavirus.[2]

Circumstances in a Correctional Officer’s Duties

What are the risks for essential workers such as correctional and detention officers, prison guards, counselors, clinicians, administrative staff, and others who make it possible to run these facilities?[3]

  • Working in close quarters
  • At risk of being spat at by a prisoner
  • Stopping fights between inmates
  • Inspecting cells possibly in unsanitary conditions[4]
  • Administering meals
  • At risk of being sneezed or coughed on
  • At risk of being assaulted with a weapon, resulting in puncture wounds[5]

These risks all heighten the possibility of transmission of COVID-19.

Jail guards, statistically, have a greater risk of “chronic injury, high cholesterol, hypertension, and heart disease” when compared to other law enforcement professions.[6] We know that the coronavirus is more likely to affect those with pre-existing conditions, making this profession that much more vulnerable until a vaccine is released and mass distributed.

Corrections officers face other nonfatal injuries on the job which include:

  • Sprain and strain
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Contusions and abrasions
  • Overexertion
  • Burnout[7]

Institutional factors that make working in a prison seem more challenging than it should include:

  • Inmate overcrowding
  • Inadequate officer training
  • Inmate gangs
  • Staffing shortages
  • Working unarmed[8]

If you have sustained an injury or illness as a correctional officer, contacting a lawyer can improve your chances of receiving workers’ compensation. With over 130 years collective experience, the partners at LIVINGSTON DIMARZIO, LLP have consistently put the lives of workers and their families at the forefront of their business.[9]

[1] “Office of the Governor | Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Requiring Public Health Emergency Credits To Be Awarded to Certain Inmates and Parolees During a Public Health Emergency.” Official Site of the State of New Jersey, NJOIT, 19 Oct. 2020, www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20201019c.shtml.

[2] Richardson, Seth A. “Two Ohio Corrections Officers Die after Testing Positive for Coronavirus.” Cleveland.com, Advance Local Media LLC., 30 Nov. 2020, www.cleveland.com/open/2020/11/two-ohio-corrections-officers-die-after-testing-positive-for-coronavirus.html.

[3] “10 Types of Correctional Officers You Can Become with an Associate Degree.” Goodwin University, WordPress, 8 May 2020, www.goodwin.edu/enews/types-of-correctional-officers-you-can-become/.

[4] Picincu, Andra. “The Disadvantages of Being a Correctional Officer.” Chron, Hearst Newspapers, LLC, 24 Mar. 2019, work.chron.com/disadvantages-being-correctional-officer-10287.html.

[5] Mann, Doug. “Workers Compensation for COVID-19 Exposed Prison Guards.” Dyer, Garofalo, Mann, and Shultz, Dyer, Garofalo, Mann, and Shultz, 15 Sept. 2020, ohiotiger.com/covid-19-prison-employees/.

[6] Picincu, Andra. “The Disadvantages of Being a Correctional Officer.” Chron, Hearst Newspapers, LLC, 24 Mar. 2019, work.chron.com/disadvantages-being-correctional-officer-10287.html.

[7] Konda, Srinivas et al. “Occupational injuries among U.S. correctional officers, 1999-2008.” Journal of safety research vol. 43,3 (2012): 181-6. doi:10.1016/j.jsr.2012.06.002

[8] Ibid.

[9] “Firm History – New Jersey Workers Compensation Law Firm: Employment Lawyers.” Livingston DiMarzio, LLP, Livingston DiMarzio, LLP, 29 Jan. 2020, www.workplacelawyers.com/firm-history/.

WorkplaceLawyers.com is the website for the workers compensation attorneys firm of Livingston, DiMarzio LLP Our team of attorneys is made up of New Jersey Mesothelioma Lawyers, NJ Workers Comp Lawyers, Employment Lawyers and Certified New Jersey Worker’s Compensation Attorneys.