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Guard rescued after being held hostage in South Carolina prison

From Samuel Gardner III, CNN
updated 6:32 AM EDT, Wed June 6, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The incident happened in a maximum-security prison
  • The guard was rescued early Wednesday and taken to a hospital
  • "It's pretty tough characters ... a lot of folks with life sentences," a prison spokesman says

(CNN) -- A guard was rescued early Wednesday after being held hostage for hours by inmates in a South Carolina maximum-security prison, authorities said.

The incident began at 9 p.m. Tuesday at Lee Correctional Institute in Bishopville when the guard was helping a nurse pass out medicine.

Inmates attacked the guard, but the nurse was able to escape, the South Carolina Department of Corrections said.

After 4 a.m., officers rescued the guard, who was taken to a hospital for injuries, said Clark Newsom, a spokesman for the corrections department.

Lee Correctional Institute is described as a Level 3 or maximum-security prison "designed primarily to house violent offenders with longer sentences, and inmates who exhibit behavioral problems," according to the corrections department website.

About 50 or 60 inmates were involved, Newsom told CNN affiliate WLTX. They were housed in a unit designed mostly for inmates serving life sentences, he said.

"The Lee Correctional Institution is a maximum security facility, so you've got everything from murderers to rapists ... it's pretty tough characters ... a lot of folks with life sentences ... some folks sometimes that probably feel they don't have a lot to lose," Newsom told the affiliate.

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