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HomeUnited StatesSC Prison Supervisor Faces Accusations of Accepting Bribes and Supplying Contraband Phones

SC Prison Supervisor Faces Accusations of Accepting Bribes and Supplying Contraband Phones

According to federal authorities, a supervisor responsible for security at a jail in South Carolina received almost $219,000 in bribes over a period of three years and provided 173 illicit cellphones to convicts.

Christine Mary Livingston, aged 46, was formally accused earlier this month of committing 15 offenses, which include bribery, conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering.

Livingston served as an employee of the South Carolina Department of Corrections for a duration of 16 years.

According to investigators, in 2016, she received a promotion to the position of captain at Broad River Correctional Institution.

This promotion granted her the responsibility of overseeing security at the medium-security Columbia prison.

Livingston collaborated with an incarcerated individual named Jerell Reaves, aged 33, to receive illicit payments in exchange for telephones and other prohibited accessories.

According to the unsealed federal indictment on Thursday, individuals were willing to accept amounts ranging from $1,000 to $7,000 using the Cash App money transfer application in exchange for a smartphone.

SC Prison Supervisor Faces Accusations of Accepting Bribes and Supplying Contraband Phones - The Hard News Daily
FILE – South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling and Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott engage in conversation following a press conference held outside Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday, January 31, 2018. In April, federal prosecutors filed charges against a former prison administrator for smuggling in 173 illegal cellphones and accepting $219,000 in bribes over a period of three years. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

According to federal prosecutors, Reaves was often referred to as Hell Rell, while Livingston was known as Hell Rell’s Queen.

If found guilty, both individuals could potentially receive a maximum jail sentence of 20 years, along with a fine of $250,000 and a restitution order to repay the illegally obtained earnings.

Reaves is currently incarcerated for a 15-year term for committing voluntary manslaughter after killing a man at a convenience store in Marion County in 2015.

Attorneys representing Livingston and Reaves did not reply to queries on Friday.

The issue of illicit mobile devices in South Carolina correctional facilities has persisted for an extended period of time.

According to Corrections Director Bryan Stirling, convicts have been involved in the operation of drug rings, fraudulent schemes, and have even orchestrated murders while incarcerated.

An individual in a position of authority at a correctional facility in South Carolina has been charged for accepting bribes totaling more than $219,000 and smuggling 173 unauthorized smartphones to incarcerated individuals.

The 2018 uprising at Lee Correctional Institution, which resulted in the deaths of seven prisoners, was instigated by the presence of cellphones.

“This individual violated the public’s confidence in South Carolina, compromising the safety of inmates, staff, and the community within our correctional facilities.” “We have a zero-tolerance policy for officers and employees smuggling prohibited items into our correctional facilities, and I am pleased that she is being held responsible,” stated Stirling.

The South Carolina correctional system has formally requested authorization from federal authorities to implement the use of signal jamming technology within prisons, specifically targeting cellphone signals.

However, permission has not yet been granted.

Recently, they have achieved success with a gadget that detects all mobile phones within prison premises, enabling personnel to request mobile phone carriers to block illegitimate numbers.

However, Stirling’s agency lacks sufficient funding to extend this program beyond a trial run in one prison.

In January, Stirling shared a video featuring an exasperated prisoner who contacted a tech support hotline to resolve the issue of his non-functional phone.

The inmate inquired about the necessary steps to reactivate his phone, only to be informed that he should contact a hotline specifically designated for the Corrections Department.

Between July 2022 and June 2023, state prison authorities recorded 2,179 instances of inmates being caught with prohibited communication devices.

Additionally, since 2015, over 35,000 cellphones have been discovered. The correctional system now houses approximately 16,000 incarcerated individuals.

Stirling has advocated for the General Assembly to enact a bill that explicitly prohibits the use of smartphones in prisons, rather than categorizing them as general contraband.

The draft also proposes extending the term by up to one year for possessing an illegal phone, and up to five years for a repeat violation.

(The headline and the story has not been edited by THND staff and is published from a syndicated feed. However there can be minor changes from the original source article.)

Further Reading :

  1. https://www.foxnews.com/us/sc-prison-supervisor-accused-taking-200k-bribes-173-cellphones-inmates
  2. https://apnews.com/article/south-carolina-prison-cellphones-supervisor-charged-captain-6b5932e5aedc1bd57262f4ea6f14cf69#:~:text=April%2012%2C%202024-,COLUMBIA%2C%20S.C.,inmates%2C%20according%20to%20federal%20prosecutors.
  3. https://www.counton2.com/news/south-carolina-news/prosecutors-south-carolina-prison-supervisor-took-219000-in-bribes-got-173-cellphones-to-inmates/
  4. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/south-carolina/articles/2024-04-12/prosecutors-south-carolina-prison-supervisor-took-219-000-in-bribes-got-173-cellphones-to-inmates
  5. https://tulsaworld.com/ap/business/prosecutors-south-carolina-prison-supervisor-took-219-000-in-bribes-got-173-cellphones-to-inmates/article_a65a83c7-f9c1-56cb-835a-4d57aa236102.html
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