COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Department of Corrections is in the process of being reviewed by a legislative oversight committee who is looking at everything from the agency’s operations to its recurring issues.
The Department of Corrections provided data to the small subcommittee outlining the most common crimes inside the state’s prisons, including more than 130 assaults so far this year.
“At one time once someone was sent to prison they really couldn’t communicate with anyone, but now they can use their cell phones and continue their criminal ways from behind bars,“ said SCDOC director, Bryan Stirling.
The Department of Corrections is battling an issue of crime behind bars
“We saw last fall the sextortion scam where folks were using cellphones to extort money from people in the military and also drug dealing—we see a lot of that,” he said.
1,398 disciplinary offenses so far this year for drug use and possession to be exact.
But contraband and drugs are just two examples of criminal activity inside the prison’s gates.
Data presented to a legislative subcommittee Tuesday shows there have been more than 130 disciplinary offenses for inmate on inmate assaults, 1500 for cell phone possession and 500 for possession of a weapon.
The numbers tell the story,” said Representative Micah Caskey with the Dept. of Corrections Oversight Subcommittee. “Criminal activity doesn’t stop at the front gates of our prisons.“
But the agency has implemented measures to prevent some of that criminal activity.
48 inmates were sent to a private prison in Mississippi.
“They recommended that was a good tool to disrupt and control the prison population some of the leaders,” explained Stirling.
The committee will continue to meet for the rest of the year with a goal of proposing legislation to improve the state’s prisons.
The members will meet again before the end of the month. This time, they’ll learn about the programs and services offered to inmates.
Some data shows as of May 30th, the Department of Corrections has conducted four homicide investigations this year. Last year there were seven and in 2017 there were nine.