When fights broke out in three housing units at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina, officers were met with a challenge. They were not able to seize control of the prison until 7 ½ hours, 17 injuries, and at least seven casualties later.
On Sunday (April 15), fights commenced at 7:15 p.m. and came to a halt on Monday at 2:55 a.m., the NY Times reports. The maximum-security prison, according to SC corrections authorities, became subject to hours of rioting, rioting that they could not stop. They’ve yet to determine what incited the violence.
According to prison authorities, the fights were initiated by inmates who ended up killing some and hurting others. No officers or employees were injured but they cited stabbing and slashing using “shanks” or DIY knives as the general cause of death or affliction. Larry Logan, a county coroner agrees, though the final causes will be decided upon completion of the autopsies.
The names of those killed were released this morning, per The State. They’ve been identified as:
- Raymond Angelo Scott
- Michael Milledge
- Damonte Marquez Rivera
- Eddie Casey Jay Gaskins
- Corey Scott
- Cornelius Quantral McClary
- Joshua Svwin Jenkins
None of the seven had been at Lee County longer than 3 years. They were all transfers, serving time at Lee no earlier than last October, with the exception of Joshua Jenkins who arrived in January 2016. Bodies were reportedly “stacked” in the prison.”I just saw three dead on the sidewalk outside of my unit. One guy is still alive and breathing, but just barely,” an inmate shared with the Associated Press.
Since its opening 25 years ago, the prison has been a familiar territory for war, often involving inmates “taking over” but they’re dying equally as much. S.C. inmate casualties have quadrupled in the last two years. While those being held at the prison are “repaying” society for crimes committed, they are entitled to safety. Despite the turnout, the greater question is one regarding a security issue, and whether it’s sufficient or enough.