AFSCME Grieves Loss of Correctional Brother


AFSCME Council 5 is deeply saddened by the death of one of our correctional brothers, Joseph Parise, after he responded to a staff assault by an inmate at Oak Park Heights Correctional Facility.

The inmate repeatedly punched a corrections officer in the face at noon Monday, and workers including Parise and a caseworker rushed to help. Corrections officers were able to restrain the inmate. Then Parise experienced a medical emergency and was taken to Regions Hospital, where he passed away Monday. He had worked for the Department of Corrections for four years. He was 37.

Two other correctional workers were injured in the attack, and were treated and released.

AFSCME joins in mourning with our correctional brothers and sisters. We grieve with the family of our AFSCME member. We offer our deepest respects to our fallen brother for his courage and his service.

Corrections Officer Derek Magle, the vice president of AFSCME Local 915 at Oak Park Heights, said Parise was a U.S. Navy veteran who served on the OPH honor guard, and a loving husband and father. Magle described Parise as a very caring man.

“He’s always fun, charismatic, positive,” Magle said. “He always worried about other staff before he worried about himself. When you were having issues, he would reach out to try to help.”

Corrections Officer Jeff Vars, the president of Local 915, said he talked to Parise on Saturday. Parise said he was considering transferring to Stillwater Correctional Facility, where an inmate recently murdered CO Joe Gomm. Parise said he thought he could better aid his fellow COs by helping provide more staff at Stillwater.

The Department of Corrections is investigating the attack and says the cause of death hasn’t been determined yet for CO Parise. DOC is offering support services to staff at Oak Park Heights.

Oak Park Heights’ correctional officers are setting up a T-shirt campaign to raise money for Parise's family. They already have set up a GoFundMe account to help his wife: