A police vehicle sits outside the Lee Correctional Institution on Monday, April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C. Multiple inmates were killed and others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside the maximum security prison in SC.
Although S.C. Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling stated they were not understaffed at Lee Correctional at the time the fights started, he has repeatedly stated that lack of funding for officer pay continues to hinder the amount of officers they can hire and how much they can pay.
The 25-year-old prison houses around 1,500 male inmates, who are among South Carolina's most violent criminals.
"The incident involved multiple inmate on inmate altercations in three housing units", the department said. In 2015, a riot was sparked when correctional officers attempted to remove a homemade weapon from a inmates cell. The seven inmates were killed, and at least 17 prisoners wounded, in a riot at the Lee Correctional Institution.
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He said he saw several attackers taunt a rival gang member who was badly injured.
McMaster said he was outraged the state can't jam cellphone signals in prisons, saying the phones helped stir the trouble. 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.
The Bishopville correctional institution has in fact seen the most number of deaths than any prison in SC in the recent years.
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.
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"These are risky people. we can not expect them to give up their unsafe ways just because they're in prison", McMaster said.
According to tweets from the Department of Corrections, all staff and responding law enforcement are safe and accounted for. "They just sat in the control bubble, called the issue in, then sat on their collective asses".
Gov. Henry McMaster said these types of incidents are avoided, or kept to a minimum, by rules and regulations, protocol and training.
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