Sentencing Reform Loosens Sentencing for Some, Tightens for Others - DatelineCarolina

SC Sentencing Reform Law Aimed at Putting Fewer People in Prison

Sentencing Reform is Meant to Reduce the Number of Inmates in State Jails Sentencing Reform is Meant to Reduce the Number of Inmates in State Jails

By Lee Scurry

Posted Mar. 29, 2010  10:15 AM

The South Carolina Senate approved a bill that senators say will reduce the number of people now being sent to prison for minor offences and let more people out on parole.  The vote is an attempt to save the state money in the middle of a budget crunch.

Senator Gerald Malloy says the bill will also save state taxpayers "a lot of money" in the future.

The bill also increases the penalties for some crimes, like sex crimes against children.

Malloy says that nearly half of the states twenty-five thousand inmates are made up of people convicted of nonviolent crimes.

There are three major changes outlined in the bill:

  1. Eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for a first drug crime.   It also allows parole or probation for second and third convictions.
  2. A third offence for driving with a suspended license will be punished with home confinement. Supporters hope it will free up prison space.
  3. Increased penalties for two dozen other crimes, including committing a sex crime involving a child. Those convicted must serve at least 85% of the sentence before they are eligible for parole.


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