South Carolina prisoners with mental illnesses to receive specialized help under new program

South Carolina News

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) – The South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services is launching a program to help get inmates with mental health conditions the resources they need to live a healthy lifestyle.

Some inmates have severe mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

The SCDPPPS mental health program consists of four agents who will supervise offenders who have mental illnesses. Agents will also focus on building strong relationships with their offenders and relationships with community partners. 

“We saw an influx of individuals coming out of SCDC, or getting put on probation, that we knew had a lot of issues, so it pushed us more to get the program started,” said Brandon Kelly, the program’s director.

The mission of the SCDPPPS mental health program is to prepare offenders with mental illness so they don’t become involved with law enforcement again. It hopes to help offenders live healthy lifestyles by providing supportive supervision strategies, appropriate referrals to services and to have suitable responses to violations.

”The ones that are coming out, they hit all kind of different barriers,” Kelly said. “They don’t have jobs, they don’t have medications they don’t have that stability to get back in society.”

The agents will be Clarendon, Sumter, Darlington, Florence, Spartanburg and Union counties.

The agency is working with the South Carolina Department of Mental Health and the South Carolina Department of Corrections to help bridge those gaps and get people what they need once they get released. The program’s goal is to help offenders get assessments, the correct medication, jobs and housing.

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