Seven inmates are dead and another 17 injured after fights at the maximum-security facility in Bishopville, S.C., a state prisons spokesperson said. Logan said Lee Correctional Institution, like most other SC prisons, is struggling to find enough workers, but he doesn't believe anything could be done once things got that far out of control.
No officers or staff members were among those killed or harmed, the corrections department added.
Lee County Coroner Larry Logan told The Associated Press that he arrived to a chaotic scene of fights everywhere at Lee Correctional Institution.
Authorities say it took eight hours to quell the riots and secure the prison.
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Officials with the department of corrections say the fighting began at 7:15 p.m.
Lee County Fire & Rescue says multiple agencies were called into assist with the "mass-casualty incident" at the prison. In recent years, there have been several large insurrections, including one in which an inmate overpowered a guard and used his keys to free others from their cells.
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In March, inmates at the prison held an officer hostage after taking control of a dorm room, The State reported.
The maximum-security facility that houses about 1,600 inmates in Bishopville, about 55 miles from Columbia, is home to some of South Carolina's most violent, longest-serving offenders.
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