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Officer Dignity Initiative puts 5-year felony charge for throwing feces, bodily fluids at corrections staff

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The organizations charged with protecting officer safety and dignity are alerting inmates that throwing items at correctional officers will come with a hefty penalty.

Michigan Corrections Organization and Michigan Department of Corrections are posting signs this month alerting prison inmates across the state of penalties for anyone threatening to injure prison workers by throwing food, feces or bodily fluids.

When inmates throw urine, blood, feces, spit or other unknown substances at employees, correction officers call it being “dressed out.” The Officer Dignity Initiative focuses on preventing being “dressed out,” according to the story posted on Click on Detroit.

Corrections officials feel being a corrections officer is challenging enough without having to be disrespected in such a vile manner.

“Being ‘dressed out’ is not something that should ever be considered a part of the job. It is a crime and one that robs our employees of their dignity,” MDOC Deputy Director Ken McKee said. “Our staff members need to know that when they are assaulted, we will do everything possible to ensure the case is handled correctly so that it can be turned over to MSP with the goal of seeing a prosecution.”

Last fall, MCO and MDOC worked with Michigan State Police and the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan to create the initiative.

The Lansing State Journal reports Michigan prison inspectors also participated in a three-day conference in October to receive training in crime scene processing, evidence handling, documentation and more to ensure successful prosecution of the assaults officials said leave officers feeling violated and potentially exposed to diseases or infections.

Officials also created a video reminding officers that the establishment has their backs and that their dignity matters.

“The Officer Dignity Video captures all the great work MCO and the coalition did to shed light on the hidden realities and difficulties of corrections work,” Andy Potter, MCO vice president and chief of staff, said. “In addition to giving a voice to staff members who have experienced these assaults firsthand, it reminds all employees that someone has their back and what happens to them inside the walls matters.”

In a report to lawmakers, the corrections department said employees were assaulted 526 times in 2015.

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