Deadly assaults in federal penitentiaries are on the rise, says the Colorado Independent. After reports that an inmate was stabbed to death in August at the U.S. Penitentiary in Florence, Co., at another federal lockup a guard was assaulted and stabbed multiple times this month, lending credence to correctional workers' claims that the system is an understaffed tinderbox. A guard was stabbed by an inmate multiple times in the head and lower back at the U.S. Penitentiary Big Sandy in Kentucky, sustaining injuries that required medical attention.
The fact that the inmate was able to hide a weapon, coupled with the bellicose assault on a staff member, are indications that understaffing has created a dangerous environment for both guards and inmates in the federal prison. In Colorado, at the high-security penitentiary in Florence, three inmates have died in less than four months. Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO) wrote U.S. Bureau of Prisons director Harley Lappin in September demanding that the agency publicly disclose the results of an investigation into a riot there. The bureau has not responded.