A Lee Correctional Institution inmate believes he knows why riots at the prison happen often

SC inmate: Not enough to do is the main reason why riots happen

BISHOPVILLE, SC (WIS) - An inmate at Lee Correctional Institution gave several reasons why he believes violent incidents like Sunday's events which left seven dead and 17 more inmates injured occur.

"We've got so many gang members within the system and there's nothing for them to do and they're (leaders) talking about the contraband," the inmate said.

The inmate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says that one of the reasons inmates enter into activities that lead to riots such as this is because inmates aren't given enough to do.

"There's nothing here for us to do," the inmate said. "There's no educational programs, the legislators — they're sitting around here and their thinking that locking 'em up and throwing away the key is the answer — but it's not the answer because there isn't anything for anybody to do except for sit around and find something stupid to do. They're trying to say it's about contraband, it's not about contraband, it's about territory – it's about rival gang members going at each other.  They always want to bring up the cell phones and the contraband, there's other contraband in here besides cell phones — there's drugs, there's cigarettes."

The inmate says the prison is understaffed, something that SCDC has confirmed.  The inmate told us "there's never a staff around and when there is, it's not enough of them to deter anything from happening."

Another issue the inmate mentions is that not only do inmates have nothing to do, but they've got nothing to lose: "They're not giving them anything to do, they've probably burnt all their bridges with their family members on the streets so they don't have anything to lose," the inmate said.


As of April 16 at midnight, the SCDC website accounts for 1,266 inmates at Lee Correctional Institution. The prison capacity is 1,272 according to the SCDC website. The prison, which opened in 1993, is a level 3 facility in Bishopville, SC.

Lee Correctional Institution has had inmate issues in the past.

Copyright 2018 WIS. All rights reserved.