A Hamilton prisoner charged with assaulting a London jail guard has been moved back to the Hamilton-Wentworth Detention Centre, and there are special precautions on him to protect the guards here, says a union official.

Loujack Café, who faces two charges of first-degree murder and three charges of attempted murder in Hamilton, is charged with assaulting a guard at the Elgin-Middlesex Detection Centre on May 25. He's back in the Barton Street jail now with special handling provisions, said Dan Sidsworth, chair of corrections with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU).

Those special precautions can include more staff escorting the prisoner, using a supervisor when opening the cell door or restraining the inmate before opening the door, Sidsworth said.

"We're wondering why he wasn't in segregation and why he didn't have those special handling precautions in place at Elgin-Middlesex," he told CBC Hamilton.

Café, 26, is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Laura Young, who was found Feb. 16, 2011 behind 116 Cathcart St. in Hamilton.

He faces the same charge in connection with the stabbing death of George Washington Burnett, a man in his 80s who was found dead seven months later in the home where he lived alone.

He also faces three attempted murder charges for two stabbings in early November and another in mid-December 2011.

The London guard was believed to have been assaulted with a pencil, but a subsequent search found nothing, Sidsworth said. Investigators are using surveillance tapes to piece together what happened. The guard received stitches to his head and was released from hospital.

The incident illustrates the issue of overcrowding in Ontario's prison system, Sidsworth said. Inmates are pushed out before they are assessed for mental health and behavioural issues.

"I fear that was the case in this instance, where the inmate should have been in segregation and he was pushed out because of overcrowding issues."

A riot team transferred Café from Hamilton to London, Sidsworth said. Within a week, he was in a normal living unit.

"That should not have happened," he said.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services would not comment on the incident, except to confirm that an officer received head injuries on May 25.

"Given the matter is under police investigation, it would be inappropriate to discuss any details at this time," spokesperson Brent Ross said in an email.