Seven killed, 17 in­jured in South Carolina jail riot

Kuwait Times - - Front Page -

BISH­OPVILLE, South Carolina: Seven in­mates were killed and 17 oth­ers in­jured in a riot at a max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison in South Carolina overnight, one of the dead­li­est out­breaks of prison vi­o­lence in the United States in decades, au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day. Fights among in­mates erupted Sun­day evening at the Lee Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion in Bish­opville, South Carolina, and were brought under con­trol at 2:55 am yes­ter­day. “The in­ci­dent at Lee CI re­sulted in 17 in­mates re­quir­ing out­side med­i­cal at­ten­tion and seven in­mates were killed,” the South Carolina Depart­ment of Cor­rec­tions (SCDC) said on its Twit­ter ac­count.

All prison guards and law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties who re­sponded were “safe and ac­counted for,” it said. The depart­ment had ini­tially de­scribed the riot as an “on­go­ing in­ci­dent”, only re­veal­ing the scope of the prob­lem hours af­ter its start at 7:15 pm Sun­day. “The in­ci­dent in­volved mul­ti­ple in­mate on in­mate al­ter­ca­tions in three hous­ing units,” it said. Lee Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion, which holds nearly 1,600 in­mates, is a “Level III” max­i­mum se­cu­rity fa­cil­ity built in 1993 to house vi­o­lent of­fend­ers and pris­on­ers with be­hav­ioral prob­lems.

Deadly prison ri­ots have been rel­a­tively rare in the United States, de­spite some no­table ex­cep­tions. South Carolina’s pris­ons are no­to­ri­ously vi­o­lent, how­ever, and suf­fer from chronic un­der­staffing.

Ac­cord­ing to The State news­pa­per, the num­ber of in­mates killed in South Carolina’s pris­ons more than dou­bled in 2017 from the pre­vi­ous year. It said 12 in­mates were killed by other pris­on­ers last year, up from five in 2016. The deaths in­cluded four in­mates who were stran­gled to death by two fel­low pris­on­ers in April 2017 at Kirk­land Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion, an­other max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Todd Ruther­ford, the leader of the Demo­cratic mi­nor­ity in the state House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, con­demned the vi­o­lence. “A mass ca­su­alty in­ci­dent in­side a cor­rec­tional fa­cil­ity is sim­ply un­ac­cept­able,” Ruther­ford tweeted. “Safety - for in­mates, SCDC em­ploy­ees, and the pub­lic - must be a pri­or­ity.

Ri­ot­ing like this is a symp­tom our crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem is bro­ken and needs re­form now,” he said.

The United States has the high­est rate of in­car­cer­a­tion in the world with around 450 pris­on­ers per 100,000 res­i­dents, ac­cord­ing to Bureau of Jus­tice Statis­tics (BJS). There were 1.5 mil­lion in­mates in state and fed­eral pris­ons in the United States at the end of 2016, ac­cord­ing to the BJS. The overnight vi­o­lence at Lee Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion was the dead­li­est at a US prison in 25 years. In 1993, nine in­mates and a cor­rec­tions of­fi­cer were killed at the South­ern Ohio Cor­rec­tional Fa­cil­ity, a max­i­mum se­cu­rity prison in Lu­casville, Ohio.

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 US his­tory. Prob­a­bly the most fa­mous was the 1971 re­bel­lion at New York’s At­tica prison. Af­ter a four day stand­off with in­mates hold­ing 42 hostages, New York state po­lice moved in to re­take the prison on or­ders of gover­nor Nel­son Rock­e­feller. By the time it was over 43 peo­ple were dead, in­clud­ing 10 guards and prison em­ploy­ees and 33 in­mates. — AFP

— AFP

BISH­OPVILLE, South Carolina: The Lee Cor­rec­tional In­sti­tu­tion is on lock­down yes­ter­day af­ter an overnight riot.

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