Violence Continues in Arizona Prisons; Inmate Possibly Stabbed

Less than a week after our report on the high number of 2008 inmate homicides in Arizona prisons, the state Department of Corrections is reporting another possible stabbing.

Maybe this latest incident will help draw attention to the inmate-on-inmate violence in state prisons -- which has apparently grown out of control. As we reported, at least four inmates (pictured) were killed by other inmates in state prisons last year. The number may even be higher after the department completes all of its death investigations.

Two of the four had been in prison for non-violent offenses, which makes their deaths seem like even more of a shame.

While at the downtown Phoenix office of the Department of Corrections last week, a couple of former prisoners came in to speak to the staff about various paperwork issues. One struck up a conversation as he waited his turn, and we asked him to name the single biggest problem these days in state prisons.

The man, a burly, pimply-faced Hispanic guy who looked like was about 30, shook his head at the question and complained there were too many problems to choose from. Finally, at our urging, he picks one:

"The violence," he says.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.