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S. Carolina inmate: Bodies stacked up during riot; 7 slain

S. Carolina inmate: Bodies stacked up during riot; 7 slain

Postby smix » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:09 pm

S. Carolina inmate: Bodies stacked up during riot; 7 slain
ABC News

URL: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/stat ... n-54494693
Category: Prison
Published: April 16, 2018

Description: Inmates armed with homemade knives fought each other for more than seven hours inside a maximum-security prison, leaving seven of them dead, officials said. An inmate who witnessed the riot told The Associated Press that bodies were "literally stacked on top of each other." At least 17 prisoners were seriously injured as inmates fought uninterrupted before authorities regained control of Lee Correctional Institution about 3 a.m. Monday, South Carolina prisons spokesman Jeff Taillon said. Officials didn't immediately say what sparked the violence at the prison that houses some of the state's worst and longest-serving offenders. No prison guards were hurt. The prisoner who saw the riot exchanged messages with AP on the condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to have a cellphone and fears retribution from other inmates. He also didn't say what started the riot but said most of the inmates are affiliated with gangs and he saw several attackers taunt a rival gang member who was badly injured. "I just saw three dead on the sidewalk outside of my unit. One guy is still alive and breathing, but just barely," the inmate said. The riot was the latest violence in the South Carolina prisons system, where at least 20 inmates have been killed by fellow prisoners since the start of 2017. At Lee Correctional, an inmate held a guard hostage for 90 minutes in March and another killed a fellow prisoner in February. The inmate who spoke to AP said that many cell door locks were already broken before the riot and that he and other prisoners roamed around freely. Hours after the violence started, no correctional officers or medical personnel attended to the dead or dying, he said. "It's been over two hours, but no COs (corrections officers) have responded to this unit, and no medical personnel have attempted to render any kind of aid," he wrote. "The COs never even attempted to render aid, nor quell the disturbance. They just sat in the control bubble, called the issue in, then sat on their collective asses." South Carolina prison guards are not armed, so as long as employees aren't threatened, they typically seal off wings when there is an inmate uprising and wait for a special team of state police to arrive to try and stop the rioting. The inmate told AP that he knew at least two of slain men well. He said he saw an inmate trying to get up before he "started into that 'death rattle' people often hear about, but never experience firsthand." 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. "How else are you going to die in prison? They don't have guns," Logan said by phone as he went to a hospital to finish identifying the dead. The injured inmates required medical attention outside the prison, which is located 40 miles east of Columbia. The South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted that the deaths happened in multiple inmate-on-inmate fights in three housing units. It began at around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. The coroner said when he arrived it was a chaotic scene of fighting everywhere. Logan said the state-run Lee Correctional Institution, like most other South Carolina prisons, is struggling to find enough workers, but he doesn't believe anything could be done once things got that far out of control. "If everybody has an uprising, you are always going to be understaffed," Logan said. The maximum-security facility in Bishopville houses about 1,500 inmates. Two officers were stabbed there in 2015. The deaths at Lee are the most in any South Carolina prison in recent years. Four inmates were killed last year by a pair of prisoners at Kirkland Correctional Institution. The riot was the latest violence in a system where 12 inmates were killed by other prisoners last year and 250 prisoners were assaulted so severely in 2016 and 2017 they had to be treated in outside hospitals, according to public records obtained by The Post and Courier of Charleston. The 250 inmates taken to the hospital after assaults the past two years were nearly double the rate from the two years before, the newspaper reported. Gov. Henry McMaster, meanwhile, expressed support for state prisons chief Bryan Stirling. McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes said the governor has "complete confidence" in Stirling's ability to lead the state Department of Corrections.
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7 inmates dead, 17 injured after hours of rioting at South Carolina prison

Postby smix » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:24 pm

7 inmates dead, 17 injured after hours of rioting at South Carolina prison
The Washington Post

URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/pos ... stitution/
Category: Prison
Published: April 16, 2018

Description: At least seven inmates are dead and 17 people are injured after nearly eight hours of rioting at a maximum-security prison in South Carolina, according to the state’s corrections authorities. Several fights broke out among inmates in three housing units at the Lee Correctional Institution about 7:15 p.m. Sunday, and it took authorities until 2:55 a.m. Monday to secure the prison, officials said. Late Monday morning, the corrections department identified the seven dead inmates as Raymond Angelo Scott, Michael Milledge, Damonte Marquez Rivera, Eddie Casey Jay Gaskins, Joshua Svwin Jenkins, Corey Scott and Cornelius Quantral McClary. No officers or staff members were harmed, the corrections department said. The Lee County coroner told the Associated Press that most of the dead appeared to have been killed by stabbing or slashing. Emergency crews from at least a half-dozen agencies responded to the “mass casualty incident,” according to Lee County Fire and Rescue. South Carolina authorities helped officials with the Department of Corrections and Lee County secure the prison dormitories where the incidents occurred, said Thom Berry, a spokesman for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), who was at the prison until early Monday. Berry said SLED is working with the department “to determine what caused the disturbance.” Lee Correctional Institution is one of South Carolina’s highest-security prisons, which means the inmates are generally tightly monitored and their movements inside the facility are limited. Of South Carolina’s nine all-male, maximum-security prisons, Lee Correctional — in Bishopville, about 60 miles northeast of Columbia — is the largest. The prison houses about 1,600 male inmates, the majority of them in general housing rather than more restricted housing, according to state records. Violence at Lee Correctional is not uncommon. During the past year, at least three inmates were killed in separate incidents, while last month, inmates held an officer hostage for about an hour-and-a-half before releasing him, according to the State newspaper. An investigation by the State’s John Monk found that the number of inmates killed across the state’s prisons had quadrupled from 2015 to 2017. Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling told Monk the trend can be partly attributed to an increase in inmates obtaining cellphones, chronic understaffing, gang rivalries and a higher ratio of violent prisoners to nonviolent ones. “I’ve been warning about this for a long time,” Stirling told the newspaper, referring to the greater number of contraband cellphones entering the prisons. “These folks are physically incarcerated, but they can continue their criminal ways behind bars. Now, they are fighting over real money.” On Monday, Gov. Henry McMaster told the AP he had “complete confidence” in Stirling as the head of the Department of Corrections. According to the department, the number of inmates held in state prisons has declined in recent years after peaking nearly a decade ago. More than 20,400 inmates were held in South Carolina facilities last year, down from a peak of 24,040 in 2010, state records show.
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