SCDC admits officer shortage in wake of inmate deaths

SCDC admits officer shortage in wake of inmate deaths

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - After two inmates confessed to killing four others in a maximum security prison, the Department of Corrections says it is dealing with an officer shortage.
According to the department, Kirkland Correctional Institution has a 14.6 percent vacancy rate for correctional officers. That number doubles to a 30 percent vacancy rate for the agency as a whole.
"The ratio of correctional officers to inmates will vary between shifts and the actual number of correctional officers working a shift. The agency utilizes classification/security assessment and other factors to determine housing and institutional assignments," said SCDC spokeswoman Sommer Sharpe.

Jacob Phillip and Denver Simmons will each be charged with killing four inmates at Kirkland Correctional Institution on April 7.

Arrest warrants say Simmons and Phillip confessed to luring the men into a cell and then assaulting and strangling them.

The cause of death for John King, Jason Kelley, Jimmy Ham, and William Scruggs has been ruled as asphyxiation due to strangulation by the Richland County Coroner's Office.

Friday's incident is just the latest incident in a string of events to plague the department.

WIS has reached out to members of the state senate's Corrections and Penology Committee to find out what this latest incident could mean for the department as a whole.

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