2 COs injured, bullets found inside SC prison

The two separate incidents remain under investigation

By Teddy Kulmala
The State (Columbia, S.C.)

ANDERSON COUNTY, SC — State corrections officials are investigating two separate incidents at an upstate South Carolina prison during which two officers were injured and bullets were found inside the facility.

Both incidents happened Monday at Perry Correctional Institution in Pelzer, according to Jeff Taillon, spokesman for the Department of Corrections.

In the first incident, an inmate refused an order from a correctional officer, Taillon said.

“After refusing the order, the inmate attacked two correctional officers, causing minor injuries,” Taillon said in an email without elaborating on the officers’ injuries.

In the second incident, Taillon said, officers “recovered contraband, which included bullets” in an inmate housing area. He would not answer questions about how the bullets were located, what other contraband was found and whether charges have been filed in connection with either incident.

Both incidents remain under investigation, he said.

Contraband is any item that the director designates as illegal in prisons, according to Bryan Stirling, director of the state Department of Corrections. This can include tobacco products, alcohol, cellphones and weapons or ammunition.

“You name it, it can be snuck in either on a person or in a person.,” Stirling said. “It can be thrown over a fence. We’ve seen backpacks full of contraband thrown over the fence.”

Perry Correctional Institution is located in Anderson County, about 20 miles south of Greenville. The Level III maximum-security facility houses just more than 600 male inmates, according to the Department of Corrections website.

In April 2016, a correctional officer was beaten and held hostage at the Pelzer prison, prompting a five-hour ordeal. Five months later, in September, the prison was placed on lockdown as a precautionary measure when a group of inmates refused to return to their cells.

©2017 The State (Columbia, S.C.)

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