A report commissioned by the state found half of South Carolina’s prisons had fewer than 50 percent of the recommended staff. A month after the report was issued, a riot at the Lee Correctional Facility in Bishopville, S.C., left seven dead and 22 injured.
One month before the violence in South Carolina’s Lee Correctional facility left seven dead and 22 injured, a report commissioned by the state Department of Corrections warned that the state’s prison system was operating with half the staff required to keep it safe, reports the Charleston Post and Courier. Columnist Steve Bailey said the 320-page report warned the state would have to double the current staff to more than 4,000 to meet industry standards.
The report written by Tom Roth, a former Illinois warden, was issued a month before the facility in Bishopville, SC exploded in what Bailey said was “America’s deadliest riot in a quarter century.” Roth visited 13 men’s and women’s state prisons, including Lee Correctional. Half the prisons had fewer than 50 percent of the recommended staff — one just 38 percent. Not a single prison had more than 62 percent of the needed manpower, said Bailey, who obtained the report after a Freedom of Information request. He noted that about 178 pages of the document were redacted — “including staffing levels for every prison and who knows what else?”