By Gregory Yee
A seven-year effort to overhaul South Carolina’s criminal justice system is yielding promising results.
A Council of State Governments Justice Center report released Thursday highlighted reform efforts to reduce recidivism — defined as when a criminal re-offends — in seven states: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan group works with states to help shape public policy in areas ranging from elections to public safety.
In South Carolina, the most dramatic change was a 46 percent drop in parole or probation revocations for technical violations. They include areas such as missing a scheduled appointment with an officer or failing a drug test, recorded between 2010 and 2015, according to the report.
S.C. Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said initiatives like the Second Chance Program, a collaboration between prison officials and the state’s Department of Employment and Workforce, are helping to drive positive changes.
“I think from a public safety standpoint, we’re seeing the crime rate go down,” Stirling said. “We’re seeing less people come to prison and less people return to prison. If they’re working, we think they’re less likely to go out and commit crime.”