An officer was taken hostage and beaten Monday at Perry Correctional Institution, touching off a five-hour ordeal in which law enforcement officers flooded the facility to regain control of a dorm.
The officer's injuries were not life-threatening, according to Bryan Stirling, director of the S.C. Department of Corrections, who declined to elaborate.
The situation began about noon in a dorm at the prison located in Pelzer in southern Greenville County. Authorities regained control of the dorm about 5 p.m., Stirling said. The incident was contained inside the dorm and the public was never at risk, authorities said.
The State Law Enforcement Division assisted the Department of Corrections in regaining control of the dorm, which houses about 180 inmates, Stirling said.
Stirling said he was not aware of any resistance offered by inmates, and that he did not know how many officers responded to the scene.
“I would like to thank local law enforcement," Stirling said. "I’d like to thank our partners at SLED. I would like to thank local EMS for being here, and I’d like to thank the dedicated men and women at the South Carolina Department of Corrections for showing up and making sure that the public was safe in this incident.”
Sen. Karl Allen, who serves on the state Corrections and Penology committee, said the committee works to ensure the facility is safe for employees and inmates. He and Stirling said an incident of this nature is rare in South Carolina. Allen said the length of time needed to resolve the situation was not concerning because safety was paramount.
"When you have a situation to occur of this type, there must be a calculated response by the Department of Corrections," Allen said.
SLED is continuing to investigate the incident but provided no comment.
Outside the prison after Department of Corrections officials had briefed the media, Allen told reporters that the officer had been stabbed. Stephanie Givens, a spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections, later said that the officer was kicked and punched but not stabbed.
Allen could not be reached late Monday night.