About South Carolina Department of Corrections
South Carolina Department of Corrections confines criminals in correctional institutions while also offering rehabilitative and self-improvement opportunities to convicts. They do so to prepare them for reintegration back into society upon sentence completion while also protecting the community. It is one of the most well-known correctional departments in the United States and has been around since 1960. The department houses around 20,000 inmates at any given time. Additionally, it has a variety of different level facilities for housing its prisoners. These include prisons, work release centers, prerelease centers, boot camps, and parole violator units.
South Carolina DOC has a lot of employment opportunities, ranging from prison guards to parole officers. As such, there are about 4500 staff members in the Department spread among its facilities and divisions. Ideally, there are 21 facilities under the SCDOC, which are divided into four distinct security levels:
- Close security.
- Medium security.
- Minimum security.
- Community-based prerelease/work centers.
The institution's security level is determined by several factors, including:
- The physical design of the facility.
- The kind of housing available.
- The operational processes in place.
- The level of security personnel.
Furthermore, detainees undergo classification and placement based on their own needs regarding security, programming, medical care, educational opportunities, and jobs.
The current Director of the Department is Bryan P. Stirling, who is appointed by the state's Governor. The Department's headquarters are strategically stationed in Columbia.
Minimum-Out Level Facilities (MO)
Minimum-out level institutions are those responsible for prerelease offenders. They accommodate nonviolent offenders in a minimum-security setting who have two and a half years or less to their release date. These facilities focus on work and inmate re-entry programs to prepare offenders for release into the community. Moreover, most of the housing is in twin beds, open-bay wards with no outside fencing. Security in these facilities is relatively lower than in any other incarceration institutions.
Minimum Level (MI)
Minimum-security facilities are those that hold convicts who are on relatively short sentences. The majority of the housing consists of two-bed cubicles with no exterior fencing. The difference between this level and minimum-out facilities is that operational processes at minimum-level facilities require a higher degree of security. Ideally, the inmates held in these facilities are non-violent, incarcerated for less serious crimes.
Medium Level (ME)
Medium-level facilities are institutions with a medium degree of security. The majority of the housing consists of a double bed, cells, and double bunk cubicles in some facilities. These facilities also have single-fenced perimeters and electronic monitoring, which is the major distinguishing factor between them and the MIs.
Close Level (CL)
Close level facilities are high-security prisons whose primary role is to house violent offenders. Additionally, they also house inmates serving long sentences and those with behavioral issues. The facilities use single and double cells for housing. Furthermore, the perimeter walls have double fences and are double-fenced with extensive electronic surveillance systems. Offenders in these facilities are under close monitoring and supervision with severe movement restrictions within the facility.
South Carolina Department of Corrections provides rehabilitation and corrective programs to incarcerated individuals to help turn their lives around. Some of the outstanding programs feature:
Shock Incarceration Program
Young, nonviolent offenders are placed in the Shock Incarceration Program for 90 days. It serves as an alternative to traditional incarceration by providing a therapeutic environment. The juveniles in this program can receive substance abuse treatment, academic education, and other services that will assist them in reintegrating back into society.
Furthermore, the development of law-abiding individuals is the ultimate purpose of the Shock Incarceration program. The program activities include drills and ceremonies, physical training, work, and education. These methods are used together with a strong focus on drug addiction education and treatment and the development of personal responsibility and accountability.
Inmate Placement in the Program
Consideration for placement in the Shock Incarceration Program involves the issuance of a Court Order by the sentencing judge. The order entails a 15-day examination to evaluate the offender's physical, emotional, and psychological appropriateness.
The offenders that the judge orders to participate in the program must:
- Be between the ages of 17 and 29 at the time of admission to the SCDC.
- Have a remaining parole eligibility time of either two years or less.
- The offender's offense must be nonviolent.
- Be serving the first-time sentence in a state correctional prison.
- Be in good physical and mental health.
Education for Inmates within the Shock Program
Participants in Shock Incarceration Program must complete a mandated education program. The program's administration ensures that the offenders devote three hours daily to classroom activities, with an additional hour of independent study under supervision. Moreover, the Department ensures facilitation for the preparation of non-high school graduates for GED testing. There is also encouragement for the involvement of graduates in remedial work in weak areas.
Young Offender Institutional Services (YOIS)
This program collaborates with the South Carolina Department of Corrections' Division of Health Services to offer evidence-based programming for juvenile offenders. It offers individualized services that aim to identify individual criminogenic needs and evidence-based programming that encourages the rehabilitative process.
The program's central focus is cognitive restructuring, which lays the groundwork for a successful reintroduction into the community. Programming activities include:
- Criminal Thinking.
- Crime's Impact.
- Family Focus.
- Community Meetings.
Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services Division
The goal of this Division is to ensure that the inmates' health in the DOC is in a good state. It does so by identifying, assessing, and providing drug abuse programming options that are instructive and rehabilitative. Additionally, the Division also offers other services that will help inmates meet their recovery goals. However, this provision depends on the extent of the availability of resources. Further, the Division's mission is to properly identify and assess a person's collective abuse program needs while initiating appropriate program placement within the SCDOC.
In addition, the Division works with each successful program participant to develop a strategy for reintegrating into the community. This accomplishment happens via collaborative efforts with the community, which will guarantee access to a wide variety of appropriate services.
Some of the Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services Program include:
Screening, Identification & Orientation Program
These screening and identification procedures aim at identifying new inmates who may need treatment for mental health or drug addiction issues. All offenders are subject to a drug test using the Texas Christian University Drug Dependency Screen (TCUDDS).
Normally, the intake process involves taking new inmates through an overview of mental health and drug addiction treatments before assignment to individual institutions. This period also gives the offenders a chance to understand better the program that suits them. These activities happen in Columbia at the Reception and Evaluation locations.
Female Substance Abuse Programs
- Goodman Addiction Treatment Unit- This is a 45-bed residential program for female offenders under a straight-time sentence or young offenders. According to the program's objectives, inmates get six months of in-depth training that is specific to their gender and age. This program employs the Therapeutic Community Model in the inmate treatment process.
- Camille Graham Addiction Treatment Unit- It is a 48-bed residential treatment facility for adult female offenders. This program offers gender-specific structured programming for 6-9 months. It also utilizes a Therapeutic Community Model treatment approach to rehabilitate the offenders.
Other programs under the Division of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services include Adult Male Substance Abuse Programs, Male Youthful Offender Substance Abuse Programs, and Youthful Offenders' Program Counselors.
South Carolina DOC Inmate Search
The South Carolina DOC has an online website that allows individuals to search for offenders in the Department's correctional facilities. This website has photographs and information on these convicts. Moreover, the website is updated daily, but details on the following offenders are not accessible through the website:
- Ex-offenders who have already been released from prison.
- Inmates in county detention centers.
- Parolees or those on probation.
Additionally, the Department does not release information on juvenile offenders.
The DOC Offender Locator Process
The state prisoner lookup website allows the public to locate offenders using the basic and advanced search categories.
Steps for the Basic Search
This category involves using the inmate's SCDC ID, the inmate's name, or SID. Searchers who do not know the SCDC number or the SID of an inmate can you the inmate's name. The first name is not mandatory. As such, people with uncertainties about it can leave it blank. Activating the phonetic search allows a display of inmates who match the name provided or are close to it. Failing to activate the phonetic search option means that the system will not include suggestions but will only display accurate name matches.
This method is complex. It has categories such as the use of certificates, programs, earned work credit, type of offense, and projected release date. This search option is usually necessary where the individual engaging in the search does most details on the inmate. As such, he/she can decide to use the advanced tool which helps narrow the search.