UPDATE: New details released about Marathon Co. jail attack
Corrections Officer Julie Christensen
Corrections Officer Denny Woodward
MARATHON COUNTY (WAOW) -
It's been almost a week since the attack at the Marathon County jail. Authorities say two corrections officers were injured after an inmate attacked them.
"Please keep Officer Christensen and Woodward, their families and the Marathon County Sheriff's Department Corrections Division in your thoughts and prayers," Chief Deputy Scott Parks said during Tuesday's press conference.
Sheriff's officials say it started after several inmates refused to hand over their meal trays. The jail was put on lockdown. That's when officials say 20-year-old Fredrick Morris because combative and struck 36-year-old corrections officer Julie Christensen in the head.
"Morris immediately struck Christensen to the facial area with a closed fist, which rendered her incapacitated," Parks said.
Another officer, Denny Woodward, 38 was also injured trying to help Christensen. Authorities say he attempted to spray Morris with pepper spray when he suffered facial injuries. Both officers went to the hospital. Christensen is listed in intensive care. Authorities say Woodward was treated and released.
Now, six days after the attack, sheriff's officials are talking about preventing this from happening again.
"All of our officers have been trained on using tasers and now all of them are equipped with one and will be immediately in effect," Parks said.
But what about staffing levels? A 2007 report to Marathon County showed the jail was dangerously understaffed then, and it hasn't improved. The chief deputy says staffing had nothing to do with this attack, but the county does plan to appoint a panel of community members to study security conditions at the jail.
"Sometimes we can easily look in the mirror and think that all is clear and all is well so by opening this up to other portions of the community to take a look at us and be transparent it provides us an opportunity for a fresh perspective and insight into actions we need to take," Parks said.
Right now, officials say, it is unclear when that panel will be appointed and when they will get to work.
Marathon County officials say they waited to release details about the attack at the request of the officers' families.
Sheriff's officials say Fredrick Morris had been in the Marathon County Jail since early February on felony drug charges. Since the attack, he has been taken to the Lincoln County jail.
Authorities say they have recommended additional charges of felony aggravated battery and two counts of battery by a prisoner.