Texas authorities say 2012 has been been the deadliest year in more than a decade in state prisons, reports the Associated Press. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice has reported 10 homicides this year, up from only three in 2011, five in 2010 and one in 2009. The homicides don’t appear to be connected and have been scattered throughout the 111-prison system.
A spokesman described the nature of the deaths in most cases as the result of “hands and feet kicking” and not a question of inmates armed with contraband weapons. More than half of the fatal attacks were committed in cells and involved altercations between cellmates, making it difficult to prevent. This year’s homicide total is a far cry from the wave of violence that swept a much smaller Texas corrections department in the 1980s. In 1985, 27 inmates were killed and hundreds of others hurt in attacks at a time when Texas prisons housed only about one-fourth of the more than 150,000 convicts now incarcerated. Since then, Texas spent more than $1 billion in prison construction and now has the nation’s largest state prison system.