Issue Brief

South Carolina's Public Safety Reform

Legislation Enacts Research-based Strategies to Cut Prison Growth and Costs

In 2010, South Carolina enacted a comprehensive package of sentencing and corrections legislation that puts the state at the forefront of states advancing research-driven criminal justice policies designed to produce a greater public safety return on corrections spending.

The Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act of 2010 (S. 1154)—the result of more than a year of work by the South Carolina Sentencing Reform Commission—passed unanimously in the state Senate and passed the  state House 97-4 before being signed into law by the governor.

The 2010 legislation enacts reforms that are projected to slow the growth of the state's prison system and save the state up to $175 million in construction costs.

The reforms:

  • Increase penalties for certain violent crimes and ensure fairness and certainty in sentencing
  • Require supervision for offenders leaving prison
  • Focus corrections resources on high-risk offenders
  • Provide greater accountability for non-violent, lower-level offenders
  • Require greater accountability from state agencies
  • Provide ongoing data-driven oversight of sentencing and corrections reform in the state

Media Contact

Christina Zurla

Manager, Communications