Public Safety Work in the States: South Carolina
South Carolina Sentencing Reform Commission
CJI's Policy Work in State & Local Government: South Carolina
Pew Policy Framework to Strengthen Community Corrections
Since 2009 CJI has provided extensive technical assistance to the state of South Carolina. CJI worked as partners of the Public Safety Performance Project of the Pew Center on the States along with Applied Research Services, Inc. to support the state's Sentencing Reform Commission. CJI assisted the Commission to fulfill its mandate to enact legislation that would make South Carolina better and safer; reduce recidivism and the revolving door to prisons; propose fair and effective sentencing options; use tax dollars wisely; and improve public safety.
The technical assistance CJI provided to the Commission included: thorough analysis of the SC's pretrial, sentencing, corrections, probation, and parole policies and practices; education regarding evidence-based practices to reduce recidivism and prison growth; and the development of data-driven policy options. In non-partisan, data-driven fashion the team generated cost-effective, results-oriented legislative and administrative solutions to address public safety issues in SC.
The South Carolina Sentencing Reform Commission's recommendations (Final Report of the Sentencing Reform Commission) and the Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act provide both short-term and long-term strategies to reduce recidivism and victimization, hold offenders accountable and maximize the state's limited financial resources. This balanced and comprehensive approach puts South Carolina at the forefront of a national movement toward more effective and cost-efficient sentencing and corrections policy.
The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and by an overwhelming majority in the House. The Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act was signed into law on Wednesday, June 2, 2010. The comprehensive law:
- Restructures controlled substance offenses
- Restructures and revises specific violent and property offenses
- Adds 24 crimes to the violent crimes list
- Improves parole release policies and practices
- Strengthens probation and parole supervision through the use of evidence-based practices to reduce recidivism
- Requires ongoing oversight of sentencing and correctional practices
- Saves hundreds of millions of dollars by reducing the need to build and operate new prison space in the next five years, and even more cost savings in the years to follow
CJI continues to work in South Carolina providing technical assistance to support the provisions of the reform. CJI works closely with the oversight body established by the Commission, the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, the Department of Corrections, the Judicial Branch and other affected agencies to ensure the state achieves its desired goals.