A 51-year-old inmate at the nation’s largest women’s prison was gravely injured this week in what was described as a violent assault by staff, including a lieutenant.

According to sources close to Lowell Correctional Institution, the woman became involved in a confrontation with corrections officers as she sought to declare a psychological emergency. Under proper prison procedure, that would have led to a medical intervention. Instead, sources said, she was slammed to the ground, then dragged to a wheelchair, with her head bouncing along the ground, before ending up hospitalized in intensive care with what was described as a possible broken neck.

Lowell Correctional, consisting of a main unit and an annex, has been plagued by reports of rapes and other abuses by staff, substandard medical care and illnesses related to unsanitary conditions, including dirty water.