Washington State Penitentiary unit on lockdown after assault on officer

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WALLA WALLA -- An assault on a correctional officer has placed a unit at the Washington State Penitentiary on lockdown today.

Shari Hall, prison spokeswoman, said an inmate attacked the officer with a weapon about 10 a.m. in a common area of one of the four close-custody units at the prison's west complex.

"The weapon was a sharpened toothbrush and didn't break the skin," Hall said. After being treated for superficial wounds at a local hospital the male officer returned to work.

The lockdown in Delta Unit, which houses 187 prisoners, will continue for at least the next 24 hours, Hall said. The rest of the prison is on normal status and scheduled activities are not affected.

At this time the assault is believed to be an isolated incident, Hall said. Local law enforcement and prison staff are investigating the cause.

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