Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Entertaiment | By Paul Elliott

7 inmates dead, 17 injured amid riot at SC prison

7 inmates dead, 17 injured amid riot at SC prison

Seven inmates were killed and 17 others injured in a riot at a maximum security prison in SC, one of the deadliest in decades in the United States, authorities said Monday.

At least 17 prisoners were seriously injured at Lee Correctional Institution, South Carolina prisons chief Bryan Stirling said at a news conference.

The maximum-security lockup in Bishopville houses about 1,500 inmates, some of South Carolina's most violent and longest-serving offenders.

"The incident involved multiple inmate on inmate altercations in three housing units", the department said.

Stirling said the fight appeared to be contained before starting in two other dorms.

Inmates were herded back into their cells and correctional officers were left to sort through the chaos after order was restored to the Lee County Correctional Facility early Monday morning.

He said he saw several attackers taunt a rival gang member who was badly injured.

The state has about 5,000 prison employees in 22 institutions, but "security staff numbers continue to lag behind the authorized strength", it said, without giving numbers.

"We are not going to just send one or two officers in there", Stirling said.

In February, an inmate was killed by another inmate in a fight.

"These are risky people. we can not expect them to give up their unsafe ways just because they're in prison", McMaster said.

Meanwhile, inmate deaths are on the rise in South Carolina-they actually more than doubled between 2016 and 2017.

"The COs [corrections officers] never even attempted to render aid, nor quell the disturbance", he said.

"There are prisons around the country - state prisons, federal prisons all - that would be safer with this jamming", he said.

Gov. Henry McMaster said these types of incidents are avoided, or kept to a minimum, by rules and regulations, protocol and training.

"The incident at Lee [Correctional Institution] resulted in 17 inmates requiring outside medical attention and seven inmates were killed", the South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted on Monday.

"It's not a surprise when we have violent events take place inside prison".

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