Bobby J. Beale of Waterbury, Conn., was already serving a 37-year prison sentence for felony murder in the robbery and shooting death of a 22-year-old cook. But now he’s facing more time behind bars after being charged with attempted murder in the stabbing of two prison guards with a homemade shank at the Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center in Montville. The incident, earlier this month, was captured on videotape and caused both guards to be sent to the hospital.
The stabbings by Beale and other assaults against prison guards prompted House Speaker James Amann to form a prison safety task force Thursday to improve standards and reduce violence against guards, reports the Hartford Courant. Recently, there were five assaults in eight days. “We need to figure out what needs to be done to better protect our guards and deal with the issues that have led to this increase in prison violence,” Amann said. A key reason for the assaults is overcrowding in the prisons, lawmakers said. The state’s prison population has exploded to more than 19,000 – up from 11,000 in 1993 and less than 5,500 in 1985.