FRESNO, Calif.—The family of a 22-year-old guard killed at a Central California prison sued the Bureau of Prisons Tuesday claiming poor management of the facility created dangerous conditions.

The lawyer for the family of Jose Rivera also disclosed a U.S. Department of Justice report that said the U.S. Penitentiary Atwater had lax discipline, trouble luring employees and management that ignored warnings of potential violence and weaponry.

"It's a clear indictment of how totally messed up the Bureau of Prisons is," said attorney Mark Peacock after filing the wrongful death lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Fresno.

A prison spokeswoman declined to comment directly on the report, dated April 2009, because she said it's part of an internal investigation.

"I can tell you we have made several changes and improvements to our high-security facilities," said Traci Billingsley.

Rivera was stabbed to death a year ago as the nearest prison employees, without a key to his unit, watched helplessly and security cameras rolled.

James Leon Guerrero and Joseph Cabrera Sablan, both serving life sentences and each having histories of violence against guards at the time of the stabbing, are charged with first-degree murder and, if convicted, could face the death penalty. The criminal trial is set for next year.

Attorneys for the inmates did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The report called the prison, which opened in

2000, a "hard to fill duty station." One-third of staff had fewer than three years' experience, and 80 percent fewer than 10. Rivera, 22, was an Iraq war veteran with less than a year at the prison.

After the stabbing, guards demanded changes, including protective vests, and a new warden was assigned to the prison.

Billingsley also said the prison now moves the most aggressive inmates from general populations to three special prisons designed to handle them, and exerts more control over inmates' movements.

Guerrero was transferred to Atwater as a disciplinary problem the day before the stabbing, the report said.

Sablan and Guerrero originally were assigned to the same cell, but Guerrero told the operations lieutenant that as "alpha" males, they were incompatible together, according to the report.

The next day they were among a group of Asians/Pacific Islanders drinking intoxicants, the report said.

At 3:20 p.m. on June 20, 2008, Rivera began to prepare for the afternoon head count. Inmates loitered instead of returning to their cells, the report said, including Guerrero and Sablan. When Rivera ordered them in, the assault occurred.

Rivera, unarmed and wounded, ran down a stairwell and toward a locked door, activating his emergency call button. The report said Guerrero tackled him while Sablan stabbed.

Rivera was stabbed 10 times before employees could unlock the door and 28 times before anyone stopped the assault, the report said.

Sablan told the FBI he was drunk. After the killing neither was given a blood-alcohol test, now standard procedure.

Eight months before the killing, inmates had taken a guard hostage using a knife made from dishwasher parts, complaining that prison gangs charged bribes for cell assignments. Prison officials took no action, so inmates considered it "an accepted practice," the report said.

The report also said that homemade alcohol, made from sugary colas, is funneled into empty soda bottles and sold by prisoners in the commissary. Intoxicated inmates were allowed to "sleep it off" rather than face disciplinary proceedings.

Following Rivera's death, a shakedown of the prison turned up 175 weapons after an initial search of eight of 12 housing units, the report said. Investigators believed the shiv used to kill Rivera was made from parts from the Food Service Department's dishwasher, something previously warned about, the report said.

"There were no patdowns, no screenings of inmates who worked around the machine," Peacock said. "The federal system really needs to get its stuff together. If it wasn't Rivera, it would have been somebody else."