Lee Correctional Institution is a level three maximum security prison for men.
"It's not a SC problem, it is a national problem", Stirling said.
"A mass casualty incident inside a correctional facility is simply unacceptable", Rutherford tweeted. The names of the deceased were released late morning. The inmate, who said most of the inmates had gang affiliations, exchanged messages on condition of anonymity because he wasn't supposed to have a cellphone and feared retribution from other inmates.
Though most of the autopsies have yet to be performed, it appears that numerous prisoners died from stabbing or slashing wounds from "shanks", Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said. "They don't have guns", Logan said. The prison capacity is 1,272 according to the SCDC website.
In March, inmates at the prison held an officer hostage after taking control of a dorm room, The State reported.
He says the fights started in one unit and appeared to be contained before suddenly starting in two more units. It is in Bishopville, S.C., about 40 miles east of Columbia, the capital.
Photo Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C., is a maximum-security prison. 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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