MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) – A federal judge said Alabama prisons remain critically understaffed as the number of officers working in state lockups dropped to the lowest point in years despite a court order to increase numbers.

Court filings show that the prison system has lost more than 500 security staff employees over the last 18 months.

U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson said Friday the state can not continue with what he called horrendous staff levels.

In 2017, Thompson found that mental health care in Alabama prisons is so inadequate that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. He said understaffing is one of the root issues.