14 SCDC corrections employees indicted in prison contraband case

COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – Fourteen South Carolina Department of Corrections employees were arrested Wednesday on federal charges related to accepting bribes and bringing contraband into state prisons.

According to a news release issued by U.S. Attorney Beth Drake, the former corrections employees were charged: Rachel Burgess, 39; Joshua Cave, 29; Jamal Early, 23; James Harvey, 54; Douglas Hawkins, 29; Robert Hill, 53; Sharon Johnson-Breeland, 29; Darnell Kleckley, 33; Holly Mitchem, 37; Frank Pridgeon, 64; Catherine Prosser, 60; Camille Williams, 65; Miguel Williams, 41 and Shatara Wilson, 29.

Officials said some of the employees worked at the following facilities:

  • Tyger River Correctional in Spartanburg County 
  • Perry Correctional in Anderson County

The other prisons where the accused employees worked:

  • Lee Correctional in Bishopville
  • Allendale Correctional in Fairfax
  • McCormick Correctional in McCormick
  • Broad River Correction in Columbia
  • Lieber Correctional in Ridgeville 

The federal violations include the use of interstate facilities to facilitate bribery, conspiracy to commit wire fraud depriving South Carolina of the right to honest services and possession with intent to distribute narcotics.

“Since 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has partnered with state law enforcement to investigate the smuggling of contraband into prisons by staff at SCDC. The investigation uncovered a number of SCDC employees who accepted bribes to smuggle into prison various contraband, such as cell phones, narcotics, or tobacco. Additionally, joint investigations over the last year, targeting the use of contraband cell phones in our state prisons, have led to the federal convictions of multiple defendants in two other prosecutions in the upstate and most recently, just last week, in Columbia.”

FBI officials said the investigation into the contraband ring is ongoing.

The indictments were unsealed after a deadly riot at Lee Correctional Institution where seven inmates died following fights over territory and contraband at the prison.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the contraband smuggled into South Carolina prisons has been used in other crimes.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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