- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

PORTAGE, Wis. (AP) - A potentially deadly attack on a guard at the Columbia Correctional Institution this week is the latest violent incident at the Portage prison in less than a year.

On Tuesday afternoon, a 26-year-old prison guard was attacked by an inmate, but was able to fight back and subdue the prisoner with the help of other officers, according to Columbia County sheriff’s investigators.

“He would’ve sustained additional injuries if not for his quick-thinking, ability to fight back and subdue the attacker,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Roger Brandner.

An inmate from Milwaukee, who had armed himself with a sharp pencil, attacked the guard in a day room, he told the Portage Daily Register (https://bit.ly/1GZccGe ).

“We know the inmate was violating some work rules, and was being told to comply with work rules and he decided to go on the attack,” Brandner said.

The guard received multiple stab wounds to the neck and head. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was treated and released. Although the guard’s injuries weren’t life-threatening, they were “vicious and forceful,” Bradner said.

Investigators believe the inmate was trying to kill the guard and are recommending charges of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

“The area of the attack is consistent with this inmate trying to kill the sergeant and obviously with stab wounds to the face and neck area, where arteries are present, it can easily kill someone,” Brandner said.

The lives of prison guards at the Columbia Correctional Institution routinely are at risk due to contact with maximum-security inmates, according to Brandner. The have been numerous security issues for both staff and inmates at the facility since last fall.

On Oct. 27, a female staff member was stabbed in the head and left side by an inmate, who has since been charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide by use of a dangerous weapon. The woman’s life may have been saved by a second inmate who restrained the attacker before prison officers responded, according to officials.

Another inmate is charged with first-degree intentional homicide in the killing his cellmate in February.

But the violent issues that have occurred at Columbia Correctional Institution within the past six months or so come with the population inside the facility, according to Bradner.

“You’re dealing with criminals … you’re going to have tensions that rise. They are not the most upstanding individuals,” he said.

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Information from: Portage Daily Register, https://www.portagedailyregister.com

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