Seven Inmates Killed in South Carolina Prison Riot

Lee Correctional Institution is a "Level III" maximum security facility built in 1993 to house violent offenders and prisoners with behavioral problems.

No officers sustained injuries in the widespread fighting, which spread throughout three housing units.

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

The South Carolina Department of Corrections identified the prisoners who died in the riot on Facebook as "Raymond Angelo Scott, Michael Milledge, Damonte Marquez Rivera, Eddie Casey Jay Gaskins, Joshua Svwin Jenkins, Corey Scott, Cornelius Quantral McClary".

Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said it appears most of the seven were killed by stabbing or slashing.

"The incident at Lee CI resulted in 17 inmates requiring outside medical attention and seven inmates were killed", the department said on its Twitter account.

He said a response team entered the first dormitory at 11:30 pm, the second one at 12:30 am and the third one at 2:00 am. "We failed. That's it".

"How else are you going to die in prison?"

According to the department, the number of inmates held in state prisons has declined in recent years after peaking almost a decade ago.

The deadly altercation occurred in three housing units at the maximum security prison.

McMaster spokesman Brian Symmes said the governor has "complete confidence" in Stirling's ability to lead the state Department of Corrections.

Stirling was appointed by then-Gov.

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. State lawmakers have already countered the governor's analysis, saying that state prisons need more money for staff and security. The state capital is home to the Kirkland Correctional Institution, where four inmates were fatally strangled a year ago. About an hour and 15 minutes later, another fight broke out in two other dorms. Four inmates were killed previous year by a pair of prisoners at Kirkland Correctional Institution.

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.

According to prison authorities, the fights were initiated by inmates who ended up killing some and hurting others.

"The folks who are incarcerated are gonna continue their criminal ways behind bars, which is not only risky inside our institutions, but it's also unsafe outside our institutions", Stirling said.

  • Rogelio Becker