Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Murdered, 17 Injured In South Carolina Prison Riot

Murdered, 17 Injured In South Carolina Prison Riot

According to S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) director Bryan Stirling, fights broke out in three dorms, beginning with one at 7:15 p.m., then the other two an hour and 15 minutes later.

He says most of the inmates are affiliated with gangs and several attackers taunted a rival gang member who was hurt. "Rioting like this is a symptom our criminal justice system is broken and needs reform now".

Most of the slain inmates were stabbed with homemade knives or slashed, while the remainder appeared to have been beaten, Lee County Coroner Larry Logan told AP. He said it appeared most of the deaths were a result of stabbing or slashing.

Gov. Henry McMaster told reporters that jamming signals from contraband cellphones - already banned in prison but smuggled in by the thousands via visitors, errant guards, even delivered by drone - would "go a long way" in preventing future violence in prison.

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Violence erupted at the prison facility on Sunday evening and was brought under control in the early hours of Monday. "They don't have guns", Logan said.

State officials defended their response to the prison brawl - one of the deadliest in America's recent history - amid allegations that officers did little to curb the violence early on and did not render aid as quickly as they could have.

Prisoners armed with homemade knives rioted for more than seven hours over gang territory and money inside a maximum-security facility in Bishopville, S.C, leaving seven inmates dead in the worst USA prison riot in more than two decades.

With 12 officers reportedly on duty at the time of the incident, Stirling says they were waiting to safely enter the prison with a large enough force.

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The injured inmates required medical attention outside the prison, which is located 40 miles east of Columbia. Prison reporter Jared Ware summarized the reported gripes of inmates and their families, saying that corrections officers in Lee County have put metal over windows to deny inmates lighting, "underfed imprisoned folks, they've used state militias to look for cell phones, they've sent hooded guards in to beat people in cells, they've denied drinking water".

WSPA reports that an inmate from Spartanburg, Robert Odell Brown, was killed in an altercation with another inmate two months ago.

Several emergency crews responded to the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville where seven inmates were killed.

Bacon reported from McLean, Va.

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