Seven inmates were killed and 17 others were injured in a large riot that broke out Sunday night at a maximum-security prison in South Carolina, the authorities said.
The fights started around 7:15 p.m. in three housing units at Lee Correctional Institution, which houses some of the state’s most violent and longest-serving offenders. Officers were unable to stop the fighting and secure the prison until around 2:55 a.m. on Monday.
The state’s Corrections Department described the fights as “multiple inmate-on-inmate altercations.” No police officers or prison employees were injured, the department said.
Lee Correctional Institution, which opened in 1993, houses about 1,500 male inmates. It is in Bishopville, S.C., about 40 miles east of Columbia, the capital.
State officials have pledged for years to make South Carolina’s prisons, particularly Lee Correctional Institution, safer after a series of deadly fights. In 2013, Michael McCall, then the warden at Lee, said it was the most dangerous prison in South Carolina.
Two officers were stabbed there in a 2015 fight. An inmate was killed during a fight in July 2017, another was stabbed to death in November, and a third was killed in February.
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