7 inmates dead in 7-hour prison fight

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Seven inmates were killed and 17 others were injured in an incident at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, South Carolina, authorities said.

"It's not a SC problem, it is a national problem", Stirling said.

Mr Taillon said multiple fights broke out between inmates at 7.15pm on Sunday. Response teams, who were home at the time, were activated at 9 p.m., and SLED responded at 9:23 p.m. Teams entered the first dorm at 11:30 p.m., the second dorm at 12:30 am. and the last dorm at 2 a.m.

"Inmates, their safety should be guaranteed along with those that work there (at the prisons) and the public", he said.

"The folks who are incarcerated are gonna continue their criminal ways behind bars, which is not only unsafe inside our institutions, but it's also risky outside our institutions", Stirling said.

State law enforcement is responding to a situation at Lee Correctional Institution Sunday night.

South Carolina Department of Corrections did not immediately return a request for comment Monday morning.

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Lee County Sheriff's Office also responded to the incident.

Few details were offered about what had actually happened inside the facility, which is maximum security and houses around 1,600 inmates, according to Department of Corrections records.

Gov. Henry McMaster said these types of incidents are avoided, or kept to a minimum, by rules and regulations, protocol and training.

"I know prisons all around this country that would be safer. if this jamming were allowed", the governor said.

The circumstances of the seven deaths are now under investigations.

Employees arrive at Lee Correctional Institution on Monday, April 16, 2018 after a "mass casualty incident" overnight at the institution in Bishopville left seven inmates dead and 20 others requiring medical attention.

Check back for updates on this developing story.