South Carolina Refusing To Evacuate Prison Inmates Ahead Of Hurricane Florence
South Carolina officials say they have no plans to evacuate 650 inmates at a medium-security prison as Hurricane Florence makes its way to the state.
Prison inmates at MacDougall Correctional Institution will not be removed and relocated according to a report from Vice News.
“Previously, it’s been safer to stay in place with the inmates rather than move to another location,” South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesperson Dexter Lee said.
As the State, a South Carolina newspaper, notes, the Ridgeland Correctional Institution is also not being evacuated. Originally, an evacuation order was placed in both Berkeley County and Jasper County — Where MacDougall and Ridgeland are at, respectively — but the latter’s evacuation order has been lifted following changes in the hurricane forecast.
Hurricane Florence is expected to make landfall on Friday and is being called potentially “life-threating.”
South Carolina has not evacuated prisons in response to hurricanes since 1999 according to a report from the Post and Courier last year. A prison spokesperson told the Post and Courier at the time, “In most cases, it is safer for the public, officers, and inmates for a SCDC facility to hold in place rather than transfer and hold in a secondary location.”
Also in the storm’s path is Virginia and North Carolina, with having evacuated some inmates in state prisons. However, some local jails in Virginia aren’t removing their inmates. In North Carolina, officials have evacuated inmates from state prisons and local jails. In a report from The Charlotte Observer, Department of Public Safety spokesman Jerry Higgins said that hundreds of state inmates are being moved to larger facilities. Hundreds more serving time in county jails will be moved to state prisons. Inmates will be moved back to their assigned prisons once Florence passes.