Kershaw Correctional Institution, Kershaw, South Carolina
July 9, 2018

Prisoners at the Kershaw Correctional Institution in South Carolina light a pile of garbage on fire in the center of their unit. Prisoners start the fire from their cells by lighting pieces of paper on fire and dropping them onto a huge pile of garbage that had been piled in the center of their unit. A South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesperson told The Post and Courier that the pile of garbage was “feeding and food containers” that had been compiled after cleaning the unit. The blaze was quickly extinguished and no one was hurt.

In an interview with WACH, a prisoner at Kershaw reported that the prison has been on lockdown for 90 days due to a lack of staff. He said that the prisoners started the fire after receiving the first meal of the day at 3pm on Sunday. ”It’s two meals that we receive on the weekend the meals come in cold so of course, you’re going to have some type of rebellion if you’re getting two meals a day that are under proportion.”

“It’s no one to even give you hope, I have been in the room for over 90 days. Taking bird baths in the sink with my roommate, trying to stay positive, but it’s just no hope man.”

“It’s easier to get a bag of marijuana than medical assistance,” he said. “It’s easier to get a bag of marijuana than to get food bought to you, it’s easier to get a bag of marijuana than to take a shower.”

The action comes just a few months after a violent riot at Lee Correctional Institution in South Carolina results in the death of seven prisoners and injures 17 others. As a result of the violence at Lee, Governor Henry McMaster declares a state of emergency in South Carolina prisons and issues an executive order allowing the Department of Corrections to more quickly and effectively hire additional staff and guards and to give pay raises.

Citations:

Fire at Kershaw Correctional Institution set ‘deliberately’ by inmates, SCDC says“, The Post and Courier, July 9, 2018.

Fire Breaks Out Inside Kershaw Correctional Prison, No Injuries Reported“, WLTX, July 9, 2018.

“Kershaw Inmate Speaks Out After Prison Fire“, WACH FOX 57, July 10, 2018.

Background:

Vicious prison brawl leaves 7 South Carolina inmates dead,” The Post and Courier, April 16, 2018.

Gov. McMaster declares emergency at S.C. prisons after riot, waives rules to bolster security“, The Post and Courier, April 23, 2018.