Chaos ensued inside of a maximum security prison in South Carolina. The prison riot was so vicious that 7 people lost their lives and 17 others were injured. According to USA Today, some of the world’s most dangerous criminals fought one another for at least 7 hours. The inmates are serving anywhere from 10 years to life in prison. Their crimes ranged from murder to burglary to trafficking crack cocaine. Around 7:15 p.m. Sunday night, a brawl ensued and correctional officers were allegedly no where to be found.
— Vibe Magazine (@VibeMagazine) April 16, 2018
Prison Riot Left 7 Dead And 17 Others Injured:
Police officers are calling the prison riot at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina one of the deadliest riots in the United States since 1993. The altercation apparently occurred between gangs as the inmates were allegedly arguing over territory outside of the prison. Bryan Stirling, director of the state Department of Corrections, feels that part of the problem is that inmates have access to cell phones. He said cellphones allow gang leaders to continue criminal operations while incarcerated.
This was all about territory. This was about contraband, this was about cellphones, Stirling told a news conference. These folks are fighting over real money and real territory while they are incarcerated.
The fighting began around 7:15 p.m. in one dormitory. While officers tried to stop the initial fight, allegedly 2 more altercations occurred within another dormitory. Each housing unit holds at least 250 inmates. During the fight, the men viciously beat one another and used homemade knives to stab one another. What were the correctional officers doing during the brawl? Nothing because they were outnumbered. An inmate, who wanted to remain anonymous, spoke with the Associate Press about what he witnessed. Seven inmates died during hours of rioting that began Sunday evening. Officials say most of them were stabbed or slashed; No officers were wounded, and the names of the dead are: Raymond Angelo Scott, Michael Milledge, Damonte Marquez Rivera, Eddie Casey Jay Gaskins, Joshua Svwin Jenkins, Corey Scott, and Cornelius Quantral McClary. The youngest was 28 years old while the oldest was 44.
The first sign of help arrived at 11:30 p.m.
The COs (corrections officers) never even attempted to render aid, nor quell the disturbance, he said. They just sat in the control bubble, called the issue in, then sat on their collective asses. 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.
According to Stirling, the guards followed protocol as they were outnumbered and it wasn’t safe for them to intervene. In an interview the the NY Times, Stirling shared that only two guards were on duty in each of the three housing units and they were armed only with pepper spray.
We are not going to just send one or two officers in there, Mr. Stirling said. We’re going to gather a force that is safe for all our officers, and we’re going to go in and we’re going to take that dorm back with force. And if there’s any resistance, we’ll be able to put that resistance down immediately.
See Bryan Stirling, Director Of The State Department Of Corrections Speak Below:
Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said the 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 and there were 44 guards there when the first fight started.
It’s an incredibly bad day in South Carolina, said Sen. Gerald Malloy, whose district includes Lee Correctional. We failed. That’s it.
There needs to be a call of action for prison reform. There’s no surprise that violence has occurred when human beings are locked in cages, in inhumanely run, understaffed, and horrifically overcrowded prisons. Tragically, when these human beings finally erupt in utter desperation and anger, we treat them as if they are animals.
Something needs to be done.