BUCKEYE, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- The Arizona Department of Corrections (ADC) has transferred more than 700 inmates out of Lewis Prison in Buckeye due to concerns raised about prison safety and padlocks on prison cells.
ADC spokesman Andrew Wilder said Thursday that 716 inmates were sent from Lewis Prison to five other state-run prisons in Winslow, Florence, Tucson, Yuma and Douglas.
The inmates were moved to reduce the number of prisoners who were housed in cells outfitted with temporary padlocks.
The American Civil Liberties Union says that's a hazard if there's a fire.
ADC put the padlocks on 1,000 high-security cells at the prison after videos surfaced showing inmates moving freely in and out of their cells.
The department said inmates have tampered with locks for years and that various other fixes have been ineffective.
ADC says it is continuing to search for long-term solutions for the door and locking systems.
The department says it has reached out to dozens of states about their locking systems to find best practices used at facilities that have experienced similar issues.
The recent controversy over prison safety led to the ACLU calling for the firing of Prisons Director Chuck Ryan.
“Enough is enough. It’s time to go in a new direction. Ninety-five percent of the people in our prisons will come home one day. Their experience within the Department of Corrections must be a healing process, not a punitive one,” ACLU spokesman Khalil Rushdan has said.
Earlier this month, a corrections officer at Lewis Prison was hospitalized after being stabbed by an inmate.
ADC said the inmate was being taken to a medical building for complaints of dizziness when he pulled out a prison-made weapon and stabbed the correctional officer in the chest.
The officer was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
ADC said the weapon used in the attack was made from a portable heater coil.
According to ADC, the incident was not related to the functionality of doors or locking mechanisms at the prison, and the housing unit where it happened was fully staffed at the time.