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2012 Shaping Up As Deadly Year For State’s Prisons

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File photo of fences around a prison.  (Photo by FRANK PERRY/AFP/GettyImages)

File photo of fences around a prison. (Photo by FRANK PERRY/AFP/GettyImages)

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HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — With four months still remaining, 2012 already has become the deadliest year in more than a decade in Texas prisons.

Ten homicides have been reported this year by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, up from only three in 2011. The agency says there were five in 2010 and just one in 2009.

The homicides don’t appear to be connected and have been scattered throughout the 111-prison system. Officials aren’t sure why the number has surged.

TDCJ Inspector General Bruce Toney says the deaths in most cases were 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.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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