- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A prisoner was fatally stabbed during a fight with a fellow inmate at a central Alabama prison Thursday, authorities said.

Grant Mickens, 35, was found in the prison yard of the Staton Correctional Facility with multiple stab wounds at 9:40 a.m., Alabama Department of Corrections officials said in a news release.

He died 10 minutes later in the prison’s health care unit.

Demetric Horsley, 31, was detained as a suspect. He is currently serving a life sentence for a 2005 murder conviction in Mobile County and authorities said he’ll be charged with capital murder for Mickens’ death. It was not clear if Horsley hired an attorney.

Corrections staffers recovered a makeshift knife used in the stabbing. The facility was put on lockdown while officials investigated.

Staton, located in Elmore, houses 1,382 inmates, nearly triple the population it was designed to hold. Alabama prisons have seen an uptick in violence between inmates in the last recorded year, according to corrections department statistics.

There were 2,111 violent inmate-on-inmate incidents in fiscal year 2016, an 18 percent increase from the previous year. Confrontations that resulted in serious inmate injuries have also jumped about 65 percent during the same period.

As prison violence has risen, the number of corrections officers has dropped by 20 percent in the past fiscal year, a department report shows.

Sen. Cam Ward, an Alabaster Republican who has introduced legislation that would replace many of the state’s prisons with four large modern facilities, said this stabbing is one more reason Alabama needs to revamp its corrections system.

“You put that many people in one place and you’ll see incidents, be them inmate-on-inmate or inmate-on-guard,” he said. “Large groups like that will be a recipe for disaster.”

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