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Arizona transferring inmates from prison with lock problems

Posted at 6:46 AM, May 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 12:28:36-04

PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Department of Corrections has begun transferring inmates from a Phoenix-area state prison with cell door lock problems that a union representing guards says led to an inmate's death and the severe beating of two guards.

Department spokesman Andrew Wilder said Monday night that the transfers of inmates from the Lewis prison in Buckeye to other state-run prisons in Arizona will reduce the number of inmates in cells now secured with padlocks.

Wilder said the transfers will "enhance employee staffing levels, increase safety, and begin preparation for installment of a long-term solution."

Department officials recently placed padlocks on 1,000 high-security cells at the prison, which houses more than 5,000 inmates.

The department said inmates have tampered with locks for about two years and that various other fixes were ineffective.