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Gang dispute sparks deadliest U.S. prison riot in 25 years: official

 

A gang-related dispute sparked an overnight riot in a South Carolina prison that killed seven inmates, the deadliest U.S. prison riot since 1993, state officials and prison safety experts said on Monday.

Another 17 people were wounded in an eight-hour long series of fights that spread through three dorms at the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina, said Bryan Stirling, director of the state Department of Corrections.

“This was all about territory. This was about contraband, this was about cellphones,” Stirling told a news conference. “These folks are fighting over real money and real territory while they are incarcerated.”

It was the deadliest U.S. prison riot since 1993, when nine inmates and one corrections officer died at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, said Steve Martin, a prisons expert and now the federal monitor for the consent decree involving New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex. All seven deaths were the result of stabbing injuries, said Lee County Coroner Larry Logan.

Forty-four guards were on duty at the 1,583-inmate prison when violence erupted Sunday evening, Stirling said. Prison staff called in reinforcements and did not move into the first unit until four hours after the fighting began, a delay that he said was necessary to ensure the guards’ safety.  Read More

 

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