CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Congresswoman Nancy Mace (R-SC) released a statement Tuesday following her tour of the Al Cannon Detention Center in Charleston County.
Mace’s visit follows six reported deaths at the Charleston County jail in the past year and comes just days after Charleston County Councilman Teddie Pryor, who also joined the tour, said he planned to send a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice calling for an investigation into the facility.
“I support the county council’s and the detention facility’s effort to have a third party take a look at what’s happening here,” Mace said in an interview after the jail tour Monday morning.
She said that much of the issue at the jail is that many of the inmates have mental health issues and the detention center not having the means to meet their needs. Rep. Mace also said something must be done to meet staffing challenges.
“A statistically significant portion of the folks at the Charleston County Detention Center has mental health issues, but this is not a mental health hospital,” said Rep. Mace. “Significant resources for mental health services need to be allocated for facilities like this. Additionally, we need to address staffing shortages and find ways to better compensate our law enforcement officers within these facilities.”
Congresswoman Mace said officials need to ensure that the jail’s medical provider and supporting detention center staff are upholding their services at the facility.
Meanwhile, Charleston County Sheriff Kristin Graziano thanked Rep. Mace and local lawmakers for touring the jail and looking at its most important needs.
“Because of the congresswoman’s busy schedule, the itinerary was abbreviated, but CCSO tour guides were able to show her and other officials’ areas of the facility where residents are booked and screened,” she said in a statement Monday afternoon.
Sheriff Graziano went on to say, “They also saw the Behavioral Management Unit, or BMU, Medical Unit and an open-bay housing unit that is currently being converted to accommodate classrooms and other resident programs. Also attending were members of CCSO command staff and Detention Center supervisors. The officials asked a lot of great questions, many (of) which our staff members were able to answer with the knowledge that internal and independent investigations are ongoing.”