Peter Hodson, the former Vancouver police officer convicted of dealing drugs on the job, has been the victim of a murder attempt in prison, according to his lawyer.

Vincent Michaels told CTV News that his client underwent surgery Tuesday after being stabbed in the neck by another inmate a day earlier.

"It was a very serious injury, but he's made a good recovery. It could have been fatal very easily with another millimetre closer to his carotid artery," Michaels said.

"It is my understanding that it is being investigated as an attempt murder."

He added that Hodson has now been transferred to a prison hospital, and is asking for extra protection from his fellow inmates.

"We're going to request that corrections go overboard in ensuring his safety. The fact is that Mr. Hodson was left in general population, despite concerns expressed by him over threats to his safety," Michaels said.

Family members were allowed to visit the father-of-four while he recovered from his surgery at Royal Columbian Hospital, but have been told he is not permitted to receive visitors in the jailhouse hospital, according to Michaels

Hodson was sentenced this fall to three years in jail for abusing his power as a police constable to push marijuana in the impoverished Downtown Eastside.

The former varsity basketball player was arrested in April 2010 and promptly fired from the Vancouver Police Department after a two-month investigation by his fellow officers.

His offences date back to December 2009, when he employed Tyson Pappas as a street-level drug dealer. Pappas later worked as a police informant, and claimed he turned against Hodson after the officer broke into his rooming house and threatened him.

At his sentencing hearing in July, a psychologist testified that Hodson is a narcissist who put his needs ahead of others' and whose need for excitement drove him to commit crime. The psychologist said that Hodson admitted to having multiple affairs with women and cheating on his exams.

That shady history belies Hodson's community reputation as a regular churchgoer who founded a charity promoting literacy in Africa.