Lee prison nurse arrested after contraband found

BY ADRIENNE SARVIS
adrienne@theitem.com
Posted 6/8/18

South Carolina Department of Corrections Police Services has charged another corrections facility employee, this time at Lee Correctional Institution, for allegedly bringing contraband into the state prison on Tuesday.

Patricia M. Montgomery, …

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Lee prison nurse arrested after contraband found

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South Carolina Department of Corrections Police Services has charged another corrections facility employee, this time at Lee Correctional Institution, for allegedly bringing contraband into the state prison on Tuesday.

Patricia M. Montgomery, former head nurse administrator at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville, was arrested after two men's watches were found on her person and two packages of tobacco wrapped in condoms were found inside her vehicle that was parked on SCDC property, according to an arrest warrant.

The watches were found during a routine search as she entered the facility on Wisacky Highway on Tuesday, and the tobacco was found during a subsequent search.

The tobacco wrapped in condoms is consistent with known methods used to smuggle in contraband, according to the warrant.

Montgomery is charged with attempting to furnish a prisoner with contraband.

She was held at Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center before she was released on a $3,000 personal recognizance bond on Wednesday.

Montgomery began working at the state prison as a contract employee on June 13, 2017, and as a full-time employee as of May 21, 2018. Montgomery's employment was terminated on June 6.

Lee Correctional Institution is the location of the country's largest prison riot in a quarter century during which seven inmates were killed and more than 20 others were injured in April. The riot reportedly began over territory, money and contraband such as cellphones, according to SCDC Director Bryan Stirling.

Since the riot, at least 16 South Carolina Department of Corrections employees - including Patricia Montgomery and Kyontae Ty' Tiauna Moni Stroman, a former correctional officer at Turbeville Correctional Institution who was arrested on Saturday - have been charged with bribery and bringing contraband into their respective facilities.

Cellphones are a major concern for correctional institutions because the devices can allow inmates to continue illegal activity from inside the facility walls.

To help prevent this, the Federal Communications Commission has been asked to block cellphone signals in state prisons.

In May, corrections officials announced that South Carolina will be the first state in the country to use drones to monitor the inmates and prison grounds of 21 state prisons in an effort to keep contraband such as cellphones and drugs from being thrown over security fences.