Former S.C. prison warden, associate get thousands in payout after inmate escape

Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 5:10 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The former warden and associate warden of Lieber Correctional Institute in Ridgeville got paid a combined $35,500 after filing a lawsuit against the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

In the lawsuit filed in April 2018, Warden Joseph McFadden claimed he was demoted and Associate Warden James Blackwell said he was forced into retirement after they were blamed for the escape of convict Jimmy Causey.

He escaped in July 2017 and was captured days later in Texas.

McFadden, who got paid $23,000, and Blackwell, who got paid $12,500, claimed in their lawsuits the agency defamed them and its leadership committed civil conspiracy. The payments were made through the state’s insurance reserve fund.

Both wardens said they were not on-duty at the time of the escape and the blame should fall on the general department including Executive Director Bryan Stirling, who was a named defendant in both lawsuits.

“At various times and places, the individual Defendants have met, schemed, planned, and conspired with one another to harass, demean, threaten, and otherwise harm [Blackwell] in his career and well-being,” one of the lawsuit’s stated.

“The S.C. Insurance Reserve Fund made a business decision to avoid the continued high cost of this litigation,” Agency Spokesperson Chrysti Shain said. “Director Stirling had been dismissed from both lawsuits.”

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