SC prison system failed to prevent and investigate inmate rapes, - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

SC prison system failed to prevent and investigate inmate rapes, lawsuit claims

(Source: Raycom Media) (Source: Raycom Media)

DORCHESTER COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina prison officials failed to prevent and investigate sexual assaults happening behind bars, according to a class action complaint filed by three inmates last week. 

The lawsuit filed in Dorchester County claims that the South Carolina Department of Corrections and the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice failed to implement and enforce their own policies and practices to protect prisoners in their care.

“The Defendants have failed to properly classify inmates, allowed gross overcrowding, and failed to properly monitor inmates,” the lawsuit alleged. “Plaintiffs have suffered and will continue to suffer injuries from rapes and sexual assaults as a direct and proximate cause of the Defendants failure to implement and enforce their own policies and procedures designed to reduce and prevent rapes and sexual assaults.”

The plaintiffs in this case are two adults held in correctional facilities under the SC Department of Corrections and one teen held under the care of the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice.

At the times of the allegations, Plaintiff Daniel Collins was being held at Lieber Correctional Institute in Ridgeville, Plaintiff Jason Robinson was being held at Ridgeland Correctional Institute in Ridgeland, and Plaintiff John Doe, the juvenile, was being held at Coastal Evaluation Regional Center in Ridgeland.

The inmates detail their experiences within the pages of the complaint.

“As a direct result of the Defendants' reckless, willful and wanton, and grossly negligent conduct, the Plaintiffs have been severely injured, both physically and emotionally, suffered needlessly, incurred medical expenses, incurred permanent scarring, and incurred permanent impairment and disability,”
 the lawsuit alleged.

The lawsuit could eventually include other inmates who have been sexually attacked while in South Carolina prisons since 2012.

In a statement sent to WMBF News, attorneys with Elliott Phelan, LLC, out of Georgetown County said,

“The South Carolina Department of Corrections and South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice’s continued failure to follow their own policies and procedures to protect people in their custody has led to the need for this legal intervention.   The state and its agencies are obligated by law to protect these adults and minors from sexual assault and their failure to do so must be remedied.   We hope that this lawsuit will cause them to take ownership of their mistakes, repair their broken system and help prevent additional sexual assaults. We also hope that those who have needlessly suffered will be afforded restitution for the injuries that could have been avoided.”

View a complete copy of the lawsuit below:

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