The SC Department of Corrections has seen its fair share of issues over the past few years and the director has been working diligently to improve the department. Director Bryan Stirling updated a senate committee on the state of the department.
“85% of the folks that come into doc get out in 5 years. We have a choice as a state, who do you want next to you? Do you want someone who has a place to live do you want someone who has a job. Our goal is to rehabilitate.”
It’s a new year and a new legislative session but DOC is still battling the same problems.Director Stirling informed senators the department is still fighting its biggest problem; a shortage of staff.
The department needs at least another 700 officers to meet staffing needs; however, the budget as it is only gives the department money for 285.
Senator Dick Harpootlian from Richland County empathized with the director.
“You are so understaffed in these facilities. The guards that work there everyday. Police don’t work in environment of danger like those officers do.”
The department is also involved in a legal battle over hepatitis c infections.
Stirling explained, “About 12% of our 18500 people incarcerated have Hepatitis C. Treatments about $25k a person and that just includes the medication. Not the staff.”
Director Stirling said it would cost the state about $55 million to treat the inmates with Hepatitis C.
On the plus side, Director Stirling added that measures in place like the netting around the prisons are helping keep contraband out, which has been linked to both illegal activity and deadly attacks inside the prisons.