MENU
component-ddb-728x90-v1-01-desktop

S.C. prison employees hit with federal bribery, contraband charges

FILE - In this Feb. 9, 2016, file photo, razor wire protects a perimeter of the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, S.C. A South Carolina prisons spokesman says several inmates are dead and others required outside medical attention after hours of fighting inside the maximum security prison. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford, File)

More than a dozen South Carolina corrections employees are facing federal charges related to bribery and bringing contraband into the state's institutions a week after a deadly prison riot. according to federal court documents.

The indictments against 14 corrections employees, including at least 11 officers, include charges of racketeering, bribery and wire fraud, and in some cases are connected to actions that allegedly took place as long as three years ago.

The indictments unsealed Wednesday don't detail how much the employees are accused of accepting in exchange for smuggling drugs, cellphones and phone accessories into state prisons.

The defendants were expected to appear in court around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Below is a list of the 14 S.C. Dept. of Corrections workers facing indictments:

  • James Harvey
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery
  • Joshua Cave
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy
  • Shatara Wilson
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
  • Jamal Early
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
  • Catherine Prosser
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
  • Sharon Breeland
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
  • Rachel Burgess
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
  • Miguel Williams
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy
  • Camille Williams
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy
  • Robert Hill
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
  • Holly Mitchem
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy
  • Darnell Kleckley
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
  • Frank Pridgeon
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracy and possession of narcotics with intent to distribute
  • Douglas Hawkins
    Use of interstate facility to facilitate bribery, honest serviced wire fraud conspiracThe defendants were expected to appear in court around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The indictments were unsealed just over a week after a deadly riot at Lee Correctional Institution that left seven inmates dead — and just one day after the AP quoted several people connected to correctional institutions as saying that cellphones, drugs and other contraband were flowing into prisons around the state while officers turned a blind eye, or helped to smuggle them.

Officials have said the riot was a fight among rival gangs competing for territory and contraband, and have long blamed cellphones for dangers inside prison.

South Carolina's Department of Corrections has long banned inmates from possessing cellphones, saying they pose a top security threat because they can help inmates commit crimes, such as coordinating drug distribution or plotting violent uprisings.

Citing understaffing as one of his agency's top problems, Corrections Director Bryan Stirling has repeatedly asked for more funding to allow him to hire additional officers. Since taking over the agency in 2013, Stirling has been able to increase officer pay and opportunities to earn overtime.

But an inmate, defense attorneys and a person familiar with the operations of South Carolina's correctional institutions all told the AP for its previous story that the problem is not a lack of officers, but the inattention or collusion of current officers that is behind the contraband problem.

In recent years the agency has spent millions installing netting around institutions to catch packages thrown over the fences; contracted with outside law enforcement officers to patrol outside the grounds, and repeatedly called on the FCC to allow them to jam cellphone signals, thereby rendering the devices useless.

(ABC News 4 contributed additional information to this report)

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off

Trending