Inmate scratched in Wash. penitentiary assault

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WALLA WALLA, Wash. (AP) -- A Washington Corrections Department spokeswoman says one state penitentiary inmate suffered two minor neck scratches when another inmate attacked him with a sharpened toothbrush.

Spokeswoman Shari Hall says the Friday afternoon assault took place in a common area of one of the prison's four close-custody living units in the West Complex. Responding staffers found the discarded toothbrush. The injured inmate was treated on-site for two scratches Hall described as about 3/4 of an inch long. His name was not released but he had been convicted of assault and vehicle theft in Pierce County.

The incident is under investigation, but Hall says it appears to have involved a personal dispute.

The 187-inmate unit will be on lockdown through the weekend. Hall described close-custody as a higher security area than medium security but less restrictive than intensive management units. There are about 2,200 inmates at the penitentiary in Walla Walla.