Lawsuits filed against SCDC, prisons were 'grossly negligent...reckless' with inmate who sought help

(WIS) - A lawsuit filed in Marlboro County alleges that wardens and correctional officers at various South Carolina Department of Corrections institutions showed no remorse when an inmate came to them looking for help and protection.

The lawsuit names the state's department of corrections, a handful of prison wardens, associate wardens, and correctional officers as the defendants in this litigation.

The plaintiff, Garcia Wilson, is currently an inmate at Ridgeland Correctional Institution in Ridgeland.

The lawsuit alleges that Evans Correctional Institution, one of the listed defendants, has "a long history of violence among inmates" there and is often encouraged by the defendants. The suit also claims that at Evans Correctional Institution, and others, "the gangs basically allowed to run free and commit whatever crimes they want within the institution without fear" of punishment.

The lawsuit also cites that the prisons are understaffed, and Evans Correctional "frequently operates each day in violation of Defendant SCDC policies and procedures."

"That the Defendant SCDC, its wardens and correctional officers are either intentionally or through gross negligence complicit with the inmate assailants who prey on other inmates."

The lawsuit recounts a June 30, 2016, incident at Turbeville Correctional Institution where a correctional officer allegedly left his post unattended and an inmate was jumped by nine others, stabbed and robbed.

Wilson, who is in prison on convictions for voluntary manslaughter, armed robbery, firearm, and a marijuana possession charge, also claims that corrections officers did nothing when he claimed a "hit" was out for him after an argument with his cellmate.

"At some point during this incident, Defendant Associate Warden Sellars told Plaintiff that he should just grow up and take care of the problem himself."

Following our request for comment, SCDC Communications Director Jeffrey Taillon said, "In response to your inquiry concerning the lawsuit, the South Carolina Department of Corrections will respond in a court of law and has no intention of litigating cases through the media."

We reached out to J. Edward Bell III for comment on this lawsuit and have not heard back at this time.

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