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CHEYENNE — The rate of reported assaults among inmates in state prison facilities has fallen this year to less than two per month, according to the Wyoming Department of Corrections.

The agency investigated eight physical altercations involving inmates over the last six months, which averages out to 1.3 per month.

From October 2003 to June 2005, there were an average of 4.2 altercations per month, and from June 2005 to December 2005, the rate was 2.5 a month.

"In the past 31 months there have been only 103 incidents that were shown to involve any form of physical altercation between prisoners," Corrections Director Bob Lampert stated in a news release Wednesday. "The vast majority of those have been spontaneous fights. I would say that an average of three fights per month in an incarcerated population comprised of our most aggressive and highest custody felons is a testimony to the state of corrections in Wyoming and the professionalism of our staff."

The agency began keeping track of inmate altercations and safety in October 2003 as a result of a lawsuit filed on behalf of inmates by the American Civil Liberties Union.

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