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Inmate Jimi Hamilton attacked a corrections officer at a Monroe Correctional Complex housing mentally ill offenders. (Monroe Correctional Complex photo)

An inmate attacked a corrections officer this morning at a Monroe Correctional Complex unit housing mentally ill offenders, according to the prison.

The officer is being treated for serious injuries at an Everett hospital after the inmate, Jimi J. Hamilton, tackled him to the ground and pounded him with his fists around 10 a.m., said prison spokesman Selena Davis.

Hamilton, 33, had just started walking away from a verbal exchange he had with the officer–one of three watching over a room holding 152 inmates–when he turned around and attacked him, Davis said.

Hamilton, who is mentally ill, is serving 14 years for two Pierce County robberies and has a history of attacking prison staff, according to a prison release. The prison said Hamilton could face a charge for custodial assault, which could become a new felony conviction and prison sentence. His earliest possible release date now is May 2018.

The attack happened in a large day room at the complex called the F Living Pod of the Special Offender Unit. One correctional sergeant and nine non-custody staff also work in the room, which includes two tiers of cells and an area for inmates to socialize, Davis said. The entire Special Offender Unit houses 350 offenders.

Monroe Police Department and prison investigators are questioning Hamilton further about the seven-second incident at a maximum security unit he was transferred to today.

The officer and other witnesses are still being interviewed to find out what may have prompted attack, said police spokeswoman Debbie Willis.

Corrections Officer Jayme Biendl was killed at the prison, allegedly an inmate Byron Scherf,  in January 2011. Scherf has confessed to the slaying.