- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 30, 2019

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Three inmates were injured during an assault involving 11 prisoners last week in a housing area at an understaffed Alabama prison.

The melee, which happened Friday at William C. Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, is the latest incident in a prison system that has come under criticism for violence, understaffing and crowding.

Alabama Department of Corrections spokesman Bob Horton wrote in a Tuesday news release that two inmates were taken to a hospital and treated for stab wounds. A third inmate was treated for minor injuries at the prison infirmary. The prison system says eight inmates that were identified as suspects have been moved to different facilities.

The U.S. Justice Department this month said Alabama houses male inmates in unconstitutional conditions where violence is “too common, cruel, of an unusual nature, and pervasive.” The department threatened to file a lawsuit against the state unless officials take action to begin correcting conditions.

The Justice Department said the state must increase the number of correctional officers working in state prisons.

According to the Department of Corrections, the maximum-security prison is supposed to have 166 correctional officers on staff, but currently only has 53.

The prison houses 827 inmates, of which 148 are on death row.

During a security sweep at the prison this month, correctional officers seized 356 makeshift weapons, plus drugs and cellphones. Photos released by the agency show some of the makeshift knives and other weapons seized.

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