7 inmates dead, 17 hurt in SC prison fight

Emergency services at the scene. Pic @LeeCountyFire

Emergency services at the scene. Pic @LeeCountyFire

SEVEN inmates were killed and 17 others injured after fights broke out inside a notorious maximum-security prison in the U.S. state of SC, officials said.

Lee Correctional Institution is listed on the South Carolina Department of Corrections' Website as a Level 3 facility, meaning it houses some of the state's most violent offenders.

Taillon said no officers were wounded after multiple inmate fights broke out at 7:15 p.m. Sunday. Lee Correctional Institution, which is reported to have capacity to hold almost 1,800 inmates, is a maximum security facility built in 1993 to house violent offenders and inmates who exhibit behavioral problems.

The first response team did not enter the site of the first fight until 11:30 p.m., Stirling said, adding that the inmates gave up peacefully.

He said he saw several attackers taunt a rival gang member who was badly injured. State lawmakers have already countered the governor's analysis, saying that state prisons need more money for staff and security.

"I just saw three dead on the sidewalk outside of my unit".

"The COs [corrections officers] never even attempted to render aid, nor quell the disturbance", he said. Four inmates were killed previous year by a pair of prisoners at Kirkland Correctional Institution.

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"These folks are fighting over real money and real territory while they are incarcerated,"he said".

The state has about 5000 prison employees in 22 institutions, but "security staff numbers continue to lag behind the authorised strength", the department's fiscal 2017 Accountability Report said, without giving numbers.

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

"They are in prison because they've been judged as so risky they must be kept there", Gov. Henry McMaster said at a news conference on Monday.

"People in this prison, many have violent records", McMaster said.

Prisoners armed with homemade knives rioted for more than seven hours over gang territory and money inside a maximum-security facility in Bishopville, S.C, leaving seven inmates dead in the worst US prison riot in more than two decades.

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