06/07/2010 - As lawmakers have scraped and scrapped to try to balance a rapidly diminishing budget, there has been one obvious way they could reduce spending, and actually improve our state: Stop wasting precious dollars providing an all-expenses-paid education to drug addicts, check-kiters and other low-risk, non-violent offenders in how to become better criminals.
But through good times and bad, lawmakers have refused even to consider reforming our tough-but-stupid-on-crime sentencing laws, terrified of being labeled soft on crime. Finally, that has changed.
That means the immediate effect won’t be as dramatic as in states that have mandated smarter approaches to sentencing. Still, the respected Pew Center on the States, which provided research support for the Sentencing Reform Commission, says the new law puts South Carolina “at the forefront of states advancing research-driven criminal justice policies designed to protect public safety, hold offenders accountable and control corrections cost.”
Read the editorial Sentencing Reform Law Will Make S.C. Safer on The State Web site.