Correction Department officials said that a Rikers Island inmate slashed a correction officer across the face when he made attempts to break up a fight last week.

A Correction Department spokeswoman said that the fight broke out before 9.55 pm on Thursday at the Otis Bantum Correctional Center, reported New York Daily News. To break up the fight, the correction officer, whose name has not been released, leapt into the fracas after which one inmate slashed the officer just below the eye. This left the officer with eight stitches.

The correction officers’ union and a Correction Department spokeswoman said that the inmate, whose name was not released, is a gang member and has been rearrested for the attack. The spokeswoman said that they will not tolerate any "assaults on our members of service who work around the clock to keep our facilities safe."

The incident “reaffirms the urgency to hire additional officers in order to deal with an increasingly violent inmate population," said Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association President Benny Boscio.

Last year, in the first eight months, as many as 2,304 correction officers were absent each month. This is high in comparison to an average of 645 officers per month in 2019.

Meanwhile, a 49-year-old Rikers Island inmate died on Thursday, reported New York Post. Officials said that it was the second death in the troubled city jail system so far this year.

According to city Department of Correction (DOC) officials, the inmate, George Pagan, was taken to a hospital where he died around 8.30 am. The officials didn't reveal why he was hospitalized. DOC Commissioner Louis Molina said in a statement that any death in custody is a "tragedy and we send our deepest condolences and sympathy to this individual’s friends and family."

Molina added that they were "working with our partner agencies to conduct a full investigation into the causes and circumstances.” The city Medical Examiner’s Office is investigating the cause of death. Officials did not mention the charges against Pagan, who was initially jailed at the Eric M. Taylor Center on March 9.

This year, the first in-custody death happened on Feb. 27 when the person, whose name wasn't revealed, was found dead at Rikers.

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