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The only prison in Alabama that carries out executions was on lockdown Saturday after a violent inmate disturbance — captured on contraband cellphone cameras and posted to social media — left two prison officials injured.
A prison warden and a corrections officer were stabbed Friday night at Holman Correctional Facility when the officer responded to a fight in a dormitory and tried to detain one of the inmates involved, the Alabama Department of Corrections said in a statement.
A warden, identified as Carter Davenport, was also stabbed when he and other officers responded to the commotion, the statement said. Both the officer and Davenport’s injuries were non-life-threatening.
After the stabbings, inmates gained access to the facility’s hallway and started a fire, corrections officials said. Some 100 of them were involved.
“Some inmates inside the prison were able to publish photos of the disturbance using social media,” the officials added.
Officers were conducting a sweep of the prison on Saturday for additional illegal cellphones and other contraband.
Three emergency response teams were deployed to Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, about 75 miles north of Mobile, to get the situation under control.
Holman Correctional Facility serves as Alabama’s sole execution facility and houses death row inmates, according to the prison’s website. The dormitory where the violence erupted is not death row, The Associated Press reported.
“The inmates who were responsible for assaulting the officer and warden, and other inmates involved in the disturbance, have been segregated from the prison’s general population,” the statement said. “Criminal charges are pending against the inmates who were involved in the incident.”
The prison will remain on lockdown until the Alabama Department of Corrections completes an investigation. Gov. Robert Bentley said he was thankful the injuries weren't more serious, and praised the department's response.
It was the second violent incident within a week in the state's prison system, which has come under criticism for overcrowding and staffing level concerns.
A corrections officer was stabbed Monday at St. Clair Correctional facility in Springville while trying to break up a fight between two inmates. An officer was also stabbed at St. Clair in November.
Six inmates were killed across the state prison system in inmate-on-inmate assaults in 2015, according to previously provided information from the Department of Corrections.
Alabama prisons hold nearly twice the number of inmates that the facilities were originally designed to house. Bentley has proposed an $800 million bond issue to build four new prisons and close most existing facilities.
“The situation at #Holman is under control, but is another reminder that we must address the issues that plague our prison system,” Bentley tweeted Saturday. “These riots & other issues in the prison system will continue if the problem isn't addressed. I have a plan & encourage the Leg. to pass it.”