7 inmates killed, 17 others injured in SC prison brawl

Erika Holt
April 16, 2018

Taillon said multiple inmate fights broke out at 7:15 p.m. Sunday.

Several emergency crews responded to the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville where seven inmates were killed. "They don't have guns", Logan said by phone as he went to a Florence hospital to finish identifying the dead.

The State adds that one inmate died in fights there in both 2017 and 2016 - and that five inmates were injured in a separate fight in 2016.

No police officers or jail employees were injured, the section mentioned. The local coroner's office also responded. There were more than 20,400 inmates held in SC facilities previous year, down from a peak of 24,040 inmates held in 2010, state records show.

"If everybody has an uprising, you are always going to be understaffed", Logan said.

The maximum-security facility that houses about 1,600 inmates in Bishopville, about 55 miles from Columbia, is home to some of South Carolina's most violent, longest-serving offenders.

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Corrections officials did not immediately say what led to the incident and why it took hours to stop the series of altercations. The department added that the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) were assisting prison officials in its investigation.

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A two-day riot and hostage-taking at the New Mexico State Prison in 1980 left 33 inmates dead and 200 injured, one of the worst in modern USA history.

These deaths at Lee are the most in any SC prison in recent years.

Gov. Henry McMaster's spokesman Brian Symmes tells The Associated Press on Monday that the governor has "complete confidence" in director Bryan Stirling's ability to lead the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

Deadly prison riots have been relatively rare in the United States, despite some notable exceptions.

The 250 inmates taken to the hospital after assaults the past two years were almost double the rate from the two years before, the newspaper reported.

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