Prison Guard Held Hostage for Hours


(Photo credit: MGN)

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By Tom Watkins, CNN

(CNN) — A guard was freed Thursday night after being held hostage by inmates at a South Carolina maximum-security prison for almost five hours, authorities said.

The incident occurred at Lee Correctional Institute in Bishopville, a prison where another guard was held hostage in June. Bishopville is about 55 miles west of the capital, Columbia.

The incident started just before 5 p.m. ET in the prison’s Chesterville dormitory, said Clark Newsom, a public information officer for the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

The guard, who was not identified, was rescued just before 10 p.m. by a large number of officers, Newsom said. He suffered cuts to his head and arm but was able to walk out of the prison after he was freed. The guard was then airlifted to a hospital, mainly as a precaution, Newsom said.

The inmates involved surrendered and the incident is under investigation, CNN affiliate WLTX reported.

In June, a different guard at the facility, which holds about 1,200 prisoners, was held hostage for several hours before being freed.

Lee Correctional Institute is a Level 3 or maximum-security prison “designed primarily to house violent offenders with longer sentences, and inmates who exhibit behavioral problems,” according to the Corrections Department website.

“Oh yes, we are looking into security issues, we always do,” Newsom said. “This is a maximum-security facility where the toughest of the tough are kept. These kinds of things happen no matter what you do.”

— CNN’s Nigel Walwyn contributed to this report.

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