Locks were broken on doors at SC prison where riot killed 7

The DOC would not say how many cell doors at the prison did not lock or how long the locks had been broken


Dig deeper into the issues that led to the S.C. riots and the next steps correctional facilities need to take to prevent similar incidents in an analysis by CorrectionsOne columnist Anthony Gangi: "SC prison riot highlights universal problems facing corrections".

By Lucas Daprile
The State (Columbia, S.C.)

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Locks for multiple cell doors were not functioning at the Lee Correctional Institution where a riot killed seven inmates earlier this week.

The Department of Corrections would not say how many cell doors at the Bishopville maximum security prison did not lock or how long the locks had been broken. But Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said the locks were not broken during the riot and referred to the broken locks as an “ongoing issue.”

This shows the Lee Correctional Institution on Monday, April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C. Multiple inmates were killed and others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside the maximum security prison in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)
This shows the Lee Correctional Institution on Monday, April 16, 2018, in Bishopville, S.C. Multiple inmates were killed and others seriously injured amid fighting between prisoners inside the maximum security prison in South Carolina. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

A statement from department spokesman Jeffrey Taillon implied only one dorm had broken locks but he did not provide additional details. The department would not say whether the broken locks contributed to the severity of the disturbance, which also injured 22 other inmates, or whether they hampered the department’s ability to take back the dorms.

“That’s unforgivable,” said Brian Dawe, executive director of the American Correctional Officer Intelligence Network. “In a maximum security prison, do we really have to ask if the … locks work?”

©2018 The State (Columbia, S.C.)

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