Seven inmates killed as turf war turns into riot in US prison

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Clashes among inmates at Lee Correctional Institution here erupted about 7:15 p.m. Sunday, the state Corrections Department said. "It s a national problem". One of the two inmates accused of the crime said he killed them so he would be moved to death row.

Prisoners armed with homemade knives rioted for more than seven hours over gang territory and money inside a maximum-security facility in Bishopville, S.C, leaving seven inmates dead in the worst US prison riot in more than two decades. "The levels of brutality are very high among pretty much all of the players within the prison system", Wright said.

Almost eight hours of rioting at a maximum-security SC prison left at least seven inmates dead and 17 others injured, authorities said.

"The things that we still don't know is - the attacks seem to be prisoners attacking other prisoners and no staff seem to be involved at this point", Wright told hosts Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek.

A prisoner who saw the riot exchanged messages with The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to have a cellphone and fears retribution from other prisoners.

South Carolina's governor is expressing support for his state prisons chief following the riots.

The maximum-security lockup in Bishopville houses about 1,500 inmates, some of South Carolina's most violent and longest-serving offenders. The prison in Bishopville, South Carolina, about 95km northeast of Columbia, houses about 1600 male inmates. State lawmakers have already countered the governor's analysis, saying that state prisons need more money for staff and security. "Rioting like this is a symptom our criminal justice system is broken and needs reform now".

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"A mass casualty incident inside a correctional facility is simply unacceptable", Rutherford tweeted.

The State newspaper showed video it said was taken by inmates with smuggled phones that depicted trails of blood and dead bodies in the prison.

According to the New York Times, for years lawmakers pledged to make South Carolina's prisons safer, especially Lee Correctional, but apparently, those pledges haven't resulted in positive safety changes.

In 1993, nine inmates and a corrections officer were killed at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison in Lucasville, Ohio. No inmates were injured.

Probably the most famous was the 1971 rebellion at NY s Attica prison.

By the time it was over 43 people were dead, including 10 guards and prison employees and 33 inmates.