CHESHIRE, Conn. (WTNH) – For the fourth time in three weeks, a correction officer was assaulted Thursday at the Cheshire Correctional Institution.

The Connecticut Department of Correction (DOC) said an officer was handing out food trays around 4:30 p.m. when an inmate started punching him. Additional staff members intervened, quickly detaining the inmate.

AFSCME Local 387 President Sean Howard said the correction officer was “bravely protecting another inmate who was attacked by another inmate.”

Howard said the officer “sustained multiple blows to the face and body.” The DOC said the officer was treated and released from the hospital.

The DOC said the inmate was taken to the MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution’s Restrictive Housing Unit in Suffield.

Angel Quiros, commissioner of the DOC, called the assault “totally unacceptable.”

“I want to make it clear that an individual who assaults a Department of Correction staff member will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Quiros said.

“The time is past due for legislators and the governor to take real action that will protect the safety and security of our dedicated staff, as well as inmates, whom our staff work hard every day to protect,” Howard said.

In response to Thursday’s assault, Gov. Ned Lamont issued the following statement.

“Any attack on a correction officer is unacceptable and must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “Our administration is always willing to hear the thoughts of those on the front lines on how to improve the safety of our correctional facilities. Commissioner Quiros and the leadership at the DOC will continue working with union representatives to develop policies to combat any such assault on a correction officer.”

The Connecticut State Police and the DOC are investigating.