Many people in South Carolina might automatically lump everyone convicted of a criminal offense into one big bucket. That, however, is quite unrealistic and even unfair. There is a big difference between being convicted of drug trafficking marijuana and being convicted of first-degree murder. This type of difference is an essential element of a new crime reform bill that is making its way through the state legislature right now.
A law passed in 2010 actually got the reform movement started and this new bill aims to keep it going. Part of the goal of the new bill is to reduce the load on state prisons while simultaneously giving some convicted of nonviolent offenses a better opportunity to rehabilitate and get their lives back on track in a more positive way.
As reported by The State, some of the changes include an increase in the number of days an incarcerated person could get credit for to thereby shorten the amount of time they spend in prison. For example, instead of the current 72 education or work credit days per year, a person could earn up to 144. For good behavior, a person may be able to earn six days of credit per month instead of the current three.
The bill also seeks to give judges more discretion when handing out sentences and to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for select offenses such as drug trafficking. In addition to helping convicted offenders rebuild their lives, the bill may save considerable taxpayer money and reduce the load on state facilities.