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prisons

  • The South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice says it will reform its beleaguered central prison for youths through a federal agreement. The settlement agreement announced Thursday follows a report from the U.S. Department of Justice that found state officials were violating the rights of incarcerated youths. State officials say they will now ensure facilities are properly staffed, offer rehabilitative programming and revise use-of-force policies, among other measures. Federal investigators say the agency has failed to protect youths from fights and forced them to spend days or weeks in isolation for small offenses. The Justice Department says agency employees have also harmed children by using excessive force such as choking, punching and kicking.
  • One of the survivors of a racist massacre at an African American church in South Carolina has started giving out scholarships from her foundation to students who want to provide health care to prisoners. Polly Daniels Sheppard set aside money from speaking engagements and other events to create the Polly Sheppard Foundation. Sheppard worked as a nurse for 14 years at the Charleston County jail and says she was bothered that there was always a lack of health workers with compassion for the people they might be helping behind bars. Sheppard was one of five people inside Emanuel AME church to survive in June 2015 when a racist killed nine members of the church.
  • South Carolina now has the lowest rate of released inmates returning to prison within three years in the country thanks to an in-depth and expanding program of job and life skills, the state prison director said.
  • Federal regulators are giving state prisons across the country more technological options to combat contraband cellphones, which prison officials — including South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling — have long said represent the greatest security threat behind bars.
  • Federal regulators are considering allowing state prisons across the country more technological options to combat contraband cellphones, which prison officials have long said represent the greatest security threat behind bars. South Carolina Corrections Director Bryan Stirling says this is a step in the right direction.
  • South Carolina officials gave initial approval Tuesday to a $6 million settlement to resolve dozens of prisoner lawsuits against the Department of Corrections following a riot that killed seven inmates.
  • South Carolina prison officials said Monday they have reached the initial approval phase of a $6 million settlement to resolve dozens of lawsuits the Department of Corrections is facing following a deadly prison riot that killed seven inmates.
  • Some South Carolina prisons will re-open for in-person visits more than a year after officials canceled visitation due to the coronavirus pandemic. The South Carolina Department of Corrections announced that visitation will resume June 19 for vaccinated inmates at four minimum security institutions across the state. Visitors at these facilities must test negative for COVID-19 within three days of the visit, or provide a vaccination card. The one-on-one visits must be scheduled ahead of time and are limited to an hour a week. The agency reports about two-thirds of state inmates have been offered the coronavirus vaccine so far, with 54% choosing to get the shots.
  • South Carolina legislators are pushing to replace the director of the state's embattled juvenile prisons, who stumbled through more than three hours of questioning Thursday.
  • So far, South Carolina’s correctional system has managed to duck the high infection rates plaguing prisons in states like Ohio and Mississippi. According…