In 2010, reports indicate that only 10 states in the nation had higher incarceration rates than South Carolina. That year criminal justice reform efforts began and today the state’s incarceration rate has improved from number 11 to number 19. In addition, seven prisons that were previously in use are no longer and as many as 6,000 fewer people overall are incarcerated in South Carolina compared to 2007.
A group of state lawmakers want to continue this trend and have sponsored a bill that seeks to reduce the number of people in prisons even further. This effort targets in some fashion those people who are 60 years of age or older. The proposal would allow people in this age group who have served at least 50 percent of their original sentences to seek parole. Supporters of the effort indicate that this group can be expensive to keep in prison and also has a lower risk of returning once they are released.
Also included in the bill is a proposal to eliminate some mandatory minimum sentences for select offenses and changing how an offense is classified as either drug trafficking or drug possession. This delineation impacts the nature of the charge and the sentence associated with it if a person is convicted.
People who are arrested in South Carolina might find talking with an attorney a good way of understanding the current and proposed laws that may impact their cases and their defense options.
Greenville News, “Inmates older than 60 could get parole under new plan to ease prison crowding,” Tim Smith, April 7, 2018