It must take a lot of courage to walk into the prison cell of a violent offender knowing that you could quite easily be his next target.
I have often wondered why people would sign up to be prison guards as it would have to be one of the more depressing and stressful jobs one could do.
Hawke's Bay Today reported yesterday that a male corrections officer had been assaulted at Hawke's Bay Regional Prison on Tuesday - the third such incident at the prison in four months.
This latest incident, in which the guard was punched from behind by a prisoner, has brought with it calls for more protection for prison officers.
Bevan Hanlon, the fair-minded and respected Corrections Association president, wants prison officers trained in one-to-one combat, armed with pepper spray and to have Tasers on hand in case of an emergency.
"If we had pepper spray, this kind of attack is unlikely to happen because prisoners will be aware there is a consequence," he said.
Mr Hanlon also wants policies changed to allow prison staff to protect themselves.
Most people would support this call because we don't want our prisons to be jungles where inmates are allowed to do as they please. There is also the argument that just like police officers have Tasers at their disposal, prison officers should also have the equipment to protect themselves.
There certainly should be an investigation into ways to make prison a safe environment for those men and women whose job it is to guard the criminals.
Whether that is combat training, pepper spray or Tasers is a matter for debate, but something does need to be done.
As always, if prison officers are given pepper spray and Tasers, there should be tight controls to ensure that this extra force is not abused. Most prison officers would be well-trained professionals who simply want to do their job to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, all it takes is one guard using too much force to tarnish the image of prison officers.
Let's give our prison officers the ability to defend themselves, but also teach them to use that power responsibly.