Inmates Killed, 17 Injured During Incident at Lee Correctional

Razor wire protects a perimeter of the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville S.C

In February, one inmate fatally stabbed another.

- 33-year-old Corneilus McClary, who was serving 25 years for first-degree burglary.

SC officials have asked the Federal Communications Commission to allow them to block cellphone signals in prisons and have a meeting with the FCC in May to discuss the issue.

Eddie Gaskins, 32, serving 10 years for domestic violence.

South Carolina House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, a Columbia Democrat, called the riot a "symptom" of the problems facing the criminal justice system. Hours after the violence started, no corrections officers or medical personnel attended to the dead or dying, he said.

Seven men were killed and 17 more were injured during a riot that began Sunday evening.

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

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In the summer of 2017, two inmates died in separate events. By 3 a.m. Monday, the prison was under lockdown and order was restored, according to a Facebook post by the department.

Stirling and the governor both appealed to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow them to block cellphone signals to prisons to prevent inmates from communicating with people on the outside world.

The prison is a maximum security facility that houses almost 1,600 inmates. At the end of the seven-hour ordeal, seven inmates lay dead, with 17 others sent to hospitals for treatment.

As of Monday, there are 1,583 prisoners incarcerated at Lee Correctional Institution.

"We gathered as many people as we could, as quickly as we could and went in as soon as we thought it was safe for our staff", he said. "We failed. That's it".

"What we believe from initial investigation is that this was all about territory, about contraband, about cellphones", said Bryan Stirling, the state's director of corrections. Four inmates were fatally strangled a year ago at the Kirkland Correctional Institution in the state's capital. About an hour and 15 minutes later, another fight broke out in two other dorms.

The riot was the latest violence in a system where 12 inmates were killed by other prisoners past year and 250 prisoners were assaulted so severely in 2016 and 2017 they had to be treated in outside hospitals, according to public records obtained by The Post and Courier of Charleston.

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