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'INCIDENT' at MAXIMUM security prison in Bishopville, South Carolina

'INCIDENT' at MAXIMUM security prison in Bishopville, South Carolina

The South Carolina Department of Corrections says seven inmates have died following an incident at Lee Correctional Institution.

(State) BISHOPVILLE, S.C. Seven inmates were killed during fights that lasted more than seven hours at a SC prison Sunday night and into Monday morning, according to officials. The incident started at around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. The prison was secure at 2:55 a.m. The department's police service unit and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division were investigating.

All SCDC staff and responding law enforcement officers are safe and accounted for. "The burden of this lies at the feet of the warden and the state of SC".

The prison, which opened 25 years ago and holds about 1,300 of some of South Carolina's most violent offenders, is no stranger to violence.

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Last month, inmates in one part of the prison allegedly took an officer hostage and controlled one side of a dormitory, part of a troubled history that has saw one inmate kill another in February and two officers stabbed in 2015.

No other details are immediately available, but Lee County Sheriff Daniel Simon confirmed deputies are assisting in the response.

Authorities responded to an "ongoing incident" at Lee Correctional Facility in Bishopville, S.C.