News13 Investigates: Dozens of SC prison workers arrested in 2019; agency making improvements

News13 Investigates

COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – Changes are being planned at the South Carolina Department of Corrections following some staffing concerns faced by the agency.

Arrest records obtained by News13 show dozens of SCDC staff members were arrested by the agency’s internal police services last year.

Seven of the arrests happened at Evans Correctional Institution in Marlboro County. News13 has reported on accusations made against Correctional Officers there in the past. Allegations include sexual misconduct and assault.

News13 brought the concerns to SCDC Director Bryan Stirling.

“These are law enforcement officers and they need to be held to a higher standard,” Director Stirling said. “We will deal with them with criminal actions.”

SCDC has over one hundred million dollars requested this year in the governor’s budget. The money would mostly go toward facility improvements statewide. Some of the money would toward raises for staff members.

Also in the works is a new classification system for state prisons, which would see inmates sorted based on behavior and offense, not length of sentence.

“So we can focus our resources on the people that need the most attention in our closed and maximum security prisons,” Director Stirling said.

These changes, Stirling said, will make improvements across the board agency-wide.

“It’s not just one thing. It’s not a silver bullet,” he said.

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