Prison officers across NSW walked off the job until Thursday morning, angry at the sentence handed down to an inmate who took a guard hostage at knifepoint.
The industrial action is expected to last until at least 8am on Thursday morning, with a 24-hour stoppage proposed.
Chair of the PSA Officer's Vocational Branch, Nicole Jess, said corrections officers, including one at Bathurst, have been the subject of five serious assaults within the last 10 days alone.
In Bathurst an officer suffered a broken jaw and nose, while a female officer at St Hilliers was also assaulted.
On the Mid North Coast, where the strike motion started an officer was hit with a piece of wood in the workshop, suffering a serious laceration to his ear, while an officer from Long Bay Jail, went into cardiac arrest last week after being punched in the chest by an inmate.
Ms Jess said the motion to strike came from the Mid-North Coast, stemming from two significant hostage situations, which have recently been dealt with in court.
She said the victim in one of the matters wasn't notified his matter was before the court, and it was also joined with three other matters.
She said she was disgusted by this.
"The victim wrote to the Attorney General back in December and got a response two days ago, They said that they were looking at changing the legislation, but there is no assurance that will happen.
"Our staff are sick of being punching bags to the worst of the worst in society, we deserve respect," she said.
Ms Jess said the union are starting a political campaign to "respect the risk", which will highlight the dangerous work corrective staff undertake.
"The DPP would never treat police the way we have been treated," she said, adding the have asked for a written response from the DPP why the officer involved was not contacted that the court case had come up.
She said corrective services staff deserved respect not only from the community but the government as well.
Minister for Corrections Geoff Lee said he was angry corrections staff have walked off the job.
"I am extremely disappointed in the reckless and illegal conduct of the PSA today, on a day when the rest of the state is focused on the natural disaster unfolding along our coastline.
"The NSW Government's priority is to keep our corrections staff and the community safe. This decision flies in the face of the constructive discussions I have been having with the PSA over recent weeks on the issues they have raised.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.