Gov. Mark Sanford today joined legislative leaders to sign legislation that reforms South Carolina's criminal sentencing laws. S.1154 is aimed at reversing the trend toward incarcerating non-violent criminals who pose little or no risk to the public, discouraging recidivism by providing inmates with a more closely supervised transition to society once their sentences have been served, and saving taxpayers more than $400 million over the next five years.
"Over the last several years our Department of Corrections has done a phenomenal job of doing more with less -- indeed South Carolina spends less than $40 per day on each inmate, the second lowest rate in the nation," Gov. Sanford said. "However, a number of structural problems with our prison and parole system have prevented Corrections from making improvements that would both discourage recidivism and save taxpayer resources in the process. This bill accomplishes many of those goals. It's designed not only to make our Corrections process even more lean and effective and thereby save taxpayers millions -- but also to reduce overall crime and consequently improve the quality of life we enjoy as South Carolinians. For that reason I'd thank Senator Gerald Malloy, Chairman of the Sentencing Reform Commission, Vice-Chairman Representative Murrell Smith, Representative Keith Kelly and Corrections Director Jon Ozmint for their leadership in pushing this bill through the legislative process."
S.1154 is based on recommendations put forward by the Sentencing Reform Commission. The legislation will make incarceration more commensurate with the crime committed, increase supervision for inmates as they transition back into normal life, limit unnecessary prison population increases, and potentially save $409 million in operating costs and