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  • Human Rights Research Center

Fiery Riot at South Carolina Detention Center Raises Concerns in Ongoing Civil Rights Investigation

November 15, 2023


The Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Columbia Fire Department respond to a fire at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, in Columbia, S.C. [Image Credit: WLTX via AP]

Cited article by Associated Press


HRRC stresses the urgency of addressing safety concerns, inadequate supervision, and the need for improved conditions within the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in South Carolina. The persistent recurrence of violence at this facility has triggered an ongoing federal civil rights investigation, emphasizing the need for comprehensive reforms to ensure the well-being of detainees and the overall security of the center.


News Brief


A fiery riot occurred at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in South Carolina, resulting in charges against more than a dozen detainees. The Richland County Sheriff's Department and Columbia Fire Department responded to a fire believed to have been started by detainees burning bedsheets and arming themselves with blunt objects. The incident, which turned into a riot, involved one detainee breaking a door, but firefighters successfully extinguished the blaze, and authorities secured 40 detainees. Of the 40 detainees, 14 face charges of rioting, two for arson, and one for possession of contraband.


The jail, already under federal civil rights investigation, has been the site of recent violent incidents, including stabbings and assaults, prompting concerns about the facility's conditions. Sheriff Leon Lott stated that responding to incidents at the detention center is routine and emphasized that those detained are accused of committing crimes, determined by the courts to be flight risks or dangers to the community. The Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center is one of two jails in South Carolina currently under federal investigation for civil rights violations, with the U.S. Justice Department examining conditions at both facilities.

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