EDGEFIELD COUNTY SC June 16 2017
Two officers with the state Department of Corrections were treated for non-life-threatening injuries following a prison riot at Trenton Correctional Institute in Edgefield County.
The 611-inmate prison devolved into bedlam after officers discovered one of the inmates was using a cell phone in the prison around 11:30 p.m., according to Corrections Department spokesman Bryan Stirling.
"The most dangerous time for our officers is trying to take these cell phones away as you saw today from an inmate," Stirling said.
When the officers attempted to confiscate the phone from the inmate, other inmates began to rally around him and fought back. Six officers barricaded themselves inside one of the dorms due to the resulting inmate uprising.
Inmates began destroying parts of the dorm and setting fires in the prison yard, causing "significant damage."
Edgefield County SWAT and Aiken County SWAT made it inside the prison and were able to rescue all six officers by 5 a.m. Stirling said there was never any danger to the community because of the actions of law enforcement.
"Edgefield County and Aiken County and our folks at SCDC made sure the perimeter was secure," Stirling said. "I want to thank SLED for showing up. They're always a great partner. Edgefield County EMS and firefighters were here to help. It really was a great partnership of public safety to make sure that we had a safe outcome."
Stirling said cell phones sneaking into prisons are a battle they continue to wage because it gives inmates "unfettered access to the outside world" that allows them to continue their "criminal ways."
"We've asked the FCC and we've asked the federal government for relief from these cell phones," Stirling said. "It's is the number one problem facing the Department of Corrections in South Carolina, and it's the number one problem I think you see across the country with cell phones."
No inmates were injured.