After the deadly riot at Lee Correctional Institution in April 2018, I decided to dive deeper into what was going on inside of South Carolina’s state prison system. By reading dozens of lawsuits and interviewing about 100 current inmates via letter, I was able to begin a four-part investigation into the state-run system.
From a mother who’s baby was born in a prison toilet because staff didn’t check to see if she was in labor to a man who went blind because he couldn’t test for diabetes, I wrote about the ongoing issues the prison system has with providing adequate medical care. I uncovered a pattern of corruption among prison guards, including that some of them have connections to gangs. I wrote about a pattern of violence that threatens the lives of inmates on a daily basis. And I showed a pattern of indifference from state lawmakers that left the prison system underfunded for years.
This project won second place for Investigative Reporting from the S.C. Press Association.