An Albany man currently incarcerated at Albany Regional Prison has pleaded guilty to attacking a prison officer after he was caught buying contraband from a fellow inmate. Larry Leonard Woods, 26, appeared in Albany Magistrate’s Court via video link from Albany Regional Prison on Thursday on one charge of assaulting a public officer. Police Prosecutor Sgt Warrick Walker told the court that on May 6 Woods was being escorted from the prison oval to return to his cell as instructed when he leaned forward and punched the corrections officer with a closed fist. Woods continued to punch the officer, who had tucked his head down, before being restrained by other corrections officers. The officer was conveyed to Albany Health Campus. Woods has served 6½ years of a 9½-year sentence and will be eligible for parole in July 2024. Woods’ defence lawyer Georgia Herford said nothing justified the response and Woods was remorseful for his actions. Ms Herford went on to explain that Woods had suffered losses in his family recently and was unable to attend the funerals because of his status as a high-risk prisoner. Woods had been caught purchasing contraband in the form of cigarettes from another inmate when he was caught by the officer. He attempted to explain that he was purchasing cigarettes to alleviate the stress of mourning, but the officer said he didn’t care about Woods or his family. Woods has reportedly attempted to attend anger-management classes but has been unable to as a result of his security risk, and has spent in total over one year in isolation. Woods claimed he was also denied access to visits and has only been able to attend one session of an educational program. Magistrate Dianne Scaddan said Woods’ time in custody was a “significant period” and noted that the officer might have had doubts that only cigarettes were being traded between the inmates. “There was a suspicion something other than cigarettes being exchanged was going on,” she said. The magistrate said officers deserved the right to not be attacked in their place of work even if violence was a feature of prisons. “Officers don’t go to work expecting to be assaulted,” she said. “Good orders of the prisons does require officers to not be assaulted.” Somewhat disbelievingly, she said Woods’ denial to access anger-management classes and programs seemed “somewhat counter-productive”. Woods faced a maximum penalty of three years imprisonment or a $36,000 fine, but was instead sentenced to one-month imprisonment, affecting his parole date.