The 25-year-old prison houses around 1,500 male inmates, who are among South Carolina's most violent criminals.
The Lee Correctional Institution in Lee County, South Carolina, erupted into chaos Sunday after what the South Carolina Department of Corrections (DOC) called "multiple inmate-on-inmate altercations" in three housing units. The prison wasn't secured until nearly 3 a.m., the South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted.
They said the clashes left seven prisoners dead and 17 "requiring medical attention".
The Sunday incident, however, mark the most deaths in a SC prison in recent history.
Lee County Coroner Larry Logan said it appears most of the seven were killed by stabbing or slashing.
On Monday, Lee County Fire and Rescue said it assisted with the "mass casualty incident" at the prison. No prison staff were injured.
Stirling said teams entering the housing units faced no resistance from the inmates. "We failed. That's it".
According to the department, the number of inmates held in state prisons has declined in recent years after peaking almost a decade ago.
"What we believe from initial investigation is that this was all about territory, about contraband, about cellphones", said Bryan Stirling, the state's director of corrections.
According to the New York Times, for years lawmakers pledged to make South Carolina's prisons safer, especially Lee Correctional, but apparently, those pledges haven't resulted in positive safety changes.
Stirling was appointed by then-Gov.
This post 7 Murdered, 17 Injured In South Carolina Prison Riot first appeared on Vibe. It was the most inmates slain in a single riot in the USA since nine prisoners and a guard died in 1993 at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility, said Steve Martin, a consultant who helps the federal government monitor prison systems. When McMaster took over as governor a year ago, he kept Stirling, who had previously worked for him in the state Attorney General's Office.
Gov. Henry McMaster commended Stirling's response and said he was outraged the state can't jam cellphone signals in prisons.