Inmate assaults two correctional officers at Santa Rosa County Correctional Institution

An inmate serving life in prison has been transferred out of the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution after assaulting two officers "by striking them in the face and head multiple times."


A source working inside the prison, speaking anonymously to avoid reprimand, said one of the correctional officers, a female sergeant, suffered facial injuries that included a broken nose.


"They want to always make it sound like corrections officers are beating up inmates but they don't tell you about what we have to go through dealing with these guys," the source said. "Staff shortages, low pay, forced overtime, and the Legislature saying ’not our problem’ or ’deal with it.’"


Records show that the inmate, 53-year-old Tony Smith, was transferred to the Florida State Prison, in Raiford, following the Oct. 26 altercation.


Smith, who was sentenced to life in 2005 for assault, burglary, false imprisonment and cocaine possession, has a long criminal history, Florida Department of Corrections records show.


The assault was one of five on correctional officers that took place during the month of October at the Santa Rosa County prison or its annex building, state records show. No other state prison in Florida recorded more than one assault during the same time period.


"The incident is currently under investigation by the Florida Department of Corrections Office of Inspector General," the DOC said in response to questions about the assault involving Smith. "Therefore, information related to the case is very limited at this time."


The DOC confirmed the officers assaulted did receive injuries, but did not provide names of the victims or the extent of the injuries.


A report on the assault involving Smith will be made public upon completion of the investigation, a DOC spokesperson said in an email.


Two assaults on correctional officers were reported at the Santa Rosa facility on Oct. 22, according to state records. The first resulted in an officer receiving scratches to the hand and the second in an officer being struck in the chest.


On Oct. 23 an inmate assaulted "multiple officers" by shoving them, state records show, and on Oct. 27 an officer at Santa Rosa Correctional Institution was kicked and injured, the state report said.