A staff member at the Tecumseh State Prison was attacked Monday when an inmate’s cell door was mistakenly opened.

The inmate punched the staff member in the head and body, Laura Strimple, a Corrections Department spokeswoman, said in a press release. The staff member was taken to Johnson County Hospital, where he was checked out before returning to the prison later in the day. The assault occurred about 1:40 p.m.

Corrections officers helped the staff member subdue the inmate, with one using pepper spray, according to the release.

A homemade weapon was found at the scene, but it had not been used in the assault.

Scott Frakes, director of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services, said the door to the shower, not the door to the cell, was supposed to be opened, according to the release.

“It appears this situation was the result of human error,” Frakes said. “Mistakes can lead to bad outcomes in any line of work, and this is especially true in corrections.”

The assault will be investigated, and the findings will be turned over to the county attorney for prosecution.

The prison unit where the assault occurred was placed on more restrictive status.

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nancy.gaarder@owh.com, 402-444-1102

Nancy Gaarder helps cover public safety and weather events as an editor on The World-Herald's breaking news desk. Follow her on Twitter @gaarder. Phone: 402-444-1102.

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