HomeSouth CarolinaSouth Carolina Department of Corrections denied critical funds as staffing shortage worsens

South Carolina Department of Corrections denied critical funds as staffing shortage worsens

Columbia, South Carolina – The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) officials are concerned because the department is facing financial difficulties which prevents some important projects from moving forward. Another issue the department faces is staffing shortage. Amid these problems, the department has been hit with a budget cut that could make these problems worse and create new ones.

SCDC has been denied funds to combat several problems they face

Unfortunately, the SCDC’s request for more money has been turned down, even though they desperately need more corrections officers and tools to fight drug use in prisons. Last week, House Ways and Means members turned down two important budget requests from the department, which left the department short-staffed.

Chrysti Shain, a spokesperson for the SCDC, pointed out that the department had asked for more than $35 million to fill staff roles, but only $2.3 million was approved, which only paid for 19 teacher positions. This choice doesn’t take into account the pressing need for 348 correctional officers and 47 transitional workers, who are very important in prisons for security, mental health care, and healthcare.

The refusal to fund these positions comes at a time when the SCDC is already facing a 30% vacancy rate among its staff, a situation compounded by a hiring freeze that prevents the department from replacing any personnel who might leave within the year. This has understandably led to serious concerns about the potential for the vacancy rate to worsen, further straining the already overstretched resources of the state’s prison system.

Read also: Gas prices in South Carolina slightly decreased last week

Rep. Marvin Pendarvis expressed his concerns, indicating a need for a deeper understanding of the decisions behind the budget cuts and a plan to address the impending challenges.

“I’m very concerned, and I’m interested to know exactly why,” Rep. Marvin Pendarvis said, “and certainly plan to ask those questions and talk with leadership here and come up here to figure out exactly what the plan is going forward.”

The department’s problems were made worse when they were denied funds for a statewide program to stop the use of illegal cell phones. This program had been successfully tested at Lee Correctional. The scheme, which needed $34 million to be adopted across the state, was meant to stop prison violence like what happened at Lee Correctional in 2018. This move not only makes it harder for the SCDC to keep its facilities safe and orderly, but it also hurts the fight against drug violence and other related crimes.

Read also: South Carolina launches rape kit tracking system to aid survivors

Despite these setbacks, SCDC officials are still optimistic and are continuing to talk with House leaders about how to get the department the money it needs.

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