Prison guard injured in brutal attack
A brutal attack at Arohata prison that left a guard with posttraumatic stress disorder has extended the attacker’s jail term by more than two years.
Jody Hood, 30, of Upper Hutt, was sentenced at Porirua District Court last Tuesday to 27 months in prison for the attack on a senior corrections officer last October 12.
That afternoon, prisoner Hood had been due to move to a different wing in the Tawa women’s prison. Another prisoner raised concerns with the guard, saying she was concerned about her safety if Hood moved to her wing.
A meeting between the three was held in a guard’s room, and quickly descended into violence.
Hood verbally abused her fellow prisoner before throwing punches and grabbing her hair.
The guard stood between the two, protecting the attacked pris- oner with her body and receiving some of the blows. Hood then picked up a coffee mug and began swinging it at the prisoner, again hitting the guard. Her next weapon was a ceramic soup bowl.
Prison staff and other prisoners soon came to break up the fight, at which point all three women fell to the floor. The guard was knocked unconscious and was taken to hospital by ambulance.
Much of the guard’s body was hurt and bruised, and an injury to the bridge of her nose made breathing difficult, Judge Jan Kelly told the court.
‘‘Her whole body felt like it had been battered.’’
The guard’s main concern was she couldn’t feel whether her head was injured – brain surgery following a haemmorhage in 2005 had left the back of her head numb, Judge Kelly said.
The guard returned to work part-time for several weeks without having contact with prisoners, but developed post- traumatic stress disorder and has since been off work on ACC.
‘‘Your offending seriously affected her personal feeling of safety and it’s ongoing,’’ the judge told Hood. ‘‘Prison officers have the right to expect to be safe in their workplaces.’’
Hood has 72 previous convic- tions, seven of them for violent offending. She showed no remorse for her attack, Judge Kelly said.
‘‘You said the victim was exaggerating the impact so she would not have to work.’’
In her favour, Hood pleaded guilty just before a defended hearing, saving the guard from having to give evidence, Judge Kelly said.
Hood’s lawyer, Sonia Thistoll, argued she had been regularly attending church in prison and was supported by Elim church pastor Ken Roach.
‘‘She’s been healing over the year,’’ Ms Thistoll said.
Hood’s victim was present in court, supported by six colleagues.