Penitentiary inmate injured in stabbing

An inmate injured Thursday night was treated at a local hospital and is expected to be transferred back to the prison today.

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WALLA WALLA -- A 42-year old inmate was stabbed Thursday night in a fight at the Washington State Penitentiary.

The assault occurred about 7:20 p.m. in a living unit in the prison's West Complex, said Shari Hall, prison spokeswoman.

The inmate was attacked by another inmate in the day room of E Unit, which is one of four close-custody units in the complex. Correctional officers were able to stop the fight quickly, but the prisoner suffered five wounds to his torso. No staff members were injured, Hall said.

The inmate, whose identity was being withheld, was taken by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment. His injuries were not life-threatening and he was expected to be transferred back to the prison today, Hall said.

The assault is being investigated by Walla Walla Police and Department of Corrections officers. The attack did not appear to be racially motivated or due to any gang affiliations, Hall said. The weapon, which was fashioned from a long-handled toothbrush, was recovered.

The 187 prisoners in E Unit were on lockdown status today, but the rest of the prison was operating normally, Hall said. Prison officials will be reviewing the status of the unit this afternoon to determine whether to continue the lockdown.

Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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