Reporters Jennifer Berry Hawes, Stephen Hobbs, Glenn Smith and Seanna Adcox spent eight months gathering information to provide the first detailed account of a 2018 riot at Lee Correctional Institution that left seven inmates dead and dozens more wounded. They collected thousands of pages of documents and interviewed more than 150 people – including direct witnesses to the violence – to piece together this gripping tale.
Reaction: The ACLU and state lawmakers cited the story in their calls for action to address problems in the prisons. Gov. Henry McMaster soon added $100 million more in his new budget proposal to fund prison staff raises and security upgrades to address problems identified in our work. That and other efforts were put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic, but officials expect to renew work to improve state prisons in 2021.
Awards: The story won several prestigious national honors, including The Eugene S. Pulliam First Amendment Award from the Society of Professional Journalists Foundation, the News Leaders Association’s First Amendment Award, an IRE Award and a Scripps Howard Award for Distinguished Service to the First Amendment. Judges called the story “an important and inspirational work of journalism.”
“They collected thousands of pages of documents and interviewed more than 150 people—including direct witnesses to the violence—to piece together this gripping tale.”