Prisoners Left To Ride Out Hurricane As Florence Nears

Prison officials won't be evacuating prisoners.

Despite a mandatory evacuation order, up to 650 inmates in a medium-security prison will be left to ride out Hurricane Florence.

MacDougall Correctional Institution, located in Berkeley County -- one of the five counties ordered to evacuate by S.C. Governor Henry McMaster -- will not be relocating its inmates.

“We’re monitoring the situation. Previously, it’s been safer to stay in place with the inmates rather than move to another location,” South Carolina Department of Corrections spokesperson Dexter Lee told VICE News.

Image: South Carolina Department of Corrections

Nearly 1,000 inmates at another medium-security facility, Ridgeland Correctional Institution, in Jasper County, were also not relocated after the mandatory evacuation order on Monday, however that order was lifted a day later.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections has not evacuated prisoners since 1999's Hurricane Floyd.

READ MORE: Hurricane Florence: Four Dead, "Only Going To Get Worse'

READ MORE: Hurricane Florence Makes Landfall On Coast Of The Carolinas

This situation rings familiar for inmates at Orleans Parish Prison in Louisiana, who were abandoned by guard and prison staff during Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Two of the prison's buildings, Templeman I and II, were evacuated before the Hurricane, but a third, Templeman III, was not.

Evacuated inmates from Orleans Parish Prison during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Image: Getty Images

After Katrina cut power to the facility, the electronic cell doors would not open, and inmates were trapped inside as water levels rose to chest height.

For four days, more than 600 inmates were locked inside their cells without food or water.

At the time, the actions of the Louisiana  Department of Corrections and Public Safety were condemned by Human Rights Watch researcher Corinne Carey.

“Of all the nightmares during Hurricane Katrina, this must be one of the worst,”

Feature Image: South Carolina Department of Corrections