All seven inmates who were killed following an eight-hour prison riot in South Carolina have been identified, with authorities questioning how best to prevent similar violent scenes occurring inside jails.
Seventeen more inmates were seriously injured following the riot at the high-security Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, which was eventually brought under control just before 3 a.m. on Monday following “multiple inmate on inmate altercations” across three housing units.
All seven fatalities in the riot were the result of stabbings using homemade knives, according to Lee County coroner Larry Logan.
The incident was the deadliest riot to occur at a prison in the U.S. since nine inmates and one guard died in 1993 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, according to Steve Martin, a consultant who helps the federal government monitor prison systems, reports Reuters.
The South Carolina Department of Corrections has now confirmed the names of all seven inmates killed in the riot. The prisoners were between 24 and 44 years old and serving between 10 years and life for violent offenses.
South Carolina Inmates
Raymond Scott, 28, was serving 20 years for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and an additional weapons charge. According to The State, Scott shot a male clerk during a robbery while the clerk’s 5-year-old son was present.
Eddie Gaskins, 32, was serving 10 years for first-degree criminal domestic violence after threatening his ex-girlfriend with a shotgun after entering her home uninvited, reports the Berkley Observer.
Michael Milledge, 44, was sentenced to 25 years for trafficking crack cocaine, as well as other offenses, including assault and battery and possession of a firearm.
Joshua Jenkins, 33, was serving two concurrent 15-year sentences for attempted murder and voluntary manslaughter stemming from a 2011 incident in Berkeley County, as well as a two-year concurrent sentence for second-degree burglary. He was one of four men convicted following the death of Brittany Aigoro after a robbery at her home in St. Stephen, South Carolina.
Cornelius McClary, 33, was serving 25 years for first-degree burglary, battery, first-degree burglary, firearms provision and criminal conspiracy in Williamsburg County in 2011.
Damonte Rivera, 24, was serving life without parole for the 2012 murder of Alfonza Thomas following a home invasion in Georgetown, South Carolina.
Corey Scott, 38, was serving 22 years for aggravated assault and battery, kidnapping and armed robbery in McCormick and Florence counties. He also received an additional eight-year assault and battery charge sentence while in prison, which ran concurrently with his original sentence, reports The State.
“This was all about territory. This was about contraband, this was about cellphones,” Bryan Stirling, director of the state Department of Corrections, told reporters during a press conference in the wake of the riot. “These folks are fighting over real money and real territory while they are incarcerated.”
House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford described the deaths of the inmates as “simply unacceptable,” reports the State. He added that reform and funding in the judicial system is desperately needed in order to prevent another incident.
“We have way too many people in prison,” Rutherford said. “When you have 30 inmates and 10 are the most violent and need supervision, (and) the rest are drug offenders, that corrections officer still has to oversee 30 people.”
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster urged cellphones to be jammed in prisons in order to prevent this sort of violence. It is thought that inmates were using contraband phones to alert others that fights were breaking out in other dorms.
“There are prisons around the country—state prisons, federal prisons—that would be safer with this jamming,” McCaster said.
Democratic State Senator Gerald Malloy added: “It’s an incredibly bad day in South Carolina,” he told Associated Press. “We failed. That’s it.”
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