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Some inmates at Arizona prison with broken locks to be sent to other sites

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PHOENIX – Close-custody inmates at a state prison in metro Phoenix will be moved to other facilities while officials revamp security procedures that include recurring broken cell door locks.

Officials at the Arizona Department of Corrections said Monday night plans to transfer the prisoners at the Lewis complex in Buckeye were underway.

In an emailed statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM, a department spokesman said, “The goal is to reduce the overall population currently housed in cells with padlocks to enhance employee staffing levels, increase safety, and begin preparation for installment of a long-term solution.”

The number of inmates to be moved won’t be made public for security reasons, the department said.

ABC15 reported two weeks ago that prisoners left their cells regularly because of tampered with or broken locks.

They have assaulted correctional officers and one another during these stretches.

A prison guard union posted several videos of inmates walking out of their cells and attacking officers.

Doors were padlocked in response, a violation of state fire codes, but the state fire marshal temporarily allowed the padlocks.

Director Charles Ryan has met with officers from the 10 state-run prisons, who shared their concerns about the locks at Lewis, salary and retention.

The remaining prisons are in Douglas, Eyman, Florence, Perryville, Phoenix, Safford, Tucson, Winslow and Yuma.

Gov. Doug Ducey ordered investigations of the problem at the prison and how the department reacted.

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