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South Carolina Department of Corrections

  • The state is poised to carry out its first execution in more than a decade after the Department of Corrections secured the drug pentobarbital.
  • South Carolina will join nonprofit Concordance's national effort to reduce the prison reentry rate after a $60 million donation by Wells Fargo that will help open the state's first "healing first" center.
  • The state grand jury has issued indictments against five South Carolina Department of Corrections officers for corruption and conspiring to smuggle drugs and cell phones into McCormick Correctional Institution, a maximum-security prison.
  • A convicted killer is back behind bars in South Carolina four months after he was released as part of an unannounced deal that cut his 35-year prison sentence nearly in half.
  • A bill that would allow South Carolina to buy the drugs needed for lethal injection without revealing the name of the company who sells them will soon be heading for the governor's desk. The state Senate on Thursday approved minor changes the House made in the shield law bill with almost no debate. The proposal also requires the names of members of the execution team be kept secret. South Carolina has had an unintended 12-year moratorium on the death penalty after its lethal injection drugs passed their expiration date and pharmacies refused to sell the state more.
  • South Carolina prison officials have decided to keep former attorney and convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh in a special protective unit as he begins serving his life sentence for killing his wife and son. The state Department of Corrections said in a news release Friday that mental health and prison experts determined that Murdaugh should be kept in protective custody after they reviewed his case, including the enormous amount of publicity it garnered and psychiatric and other tests. Prison officials said they weren't disclosing the unit's location due to security concerns.
  • South Carolina's highest court will hear arguments on whether a newly organized firing squad or the old electric chair are legal ways to execute inmates in the state. The South Carolina Supreme Court will hear an appeal Thursday of a lower court ruling that executions by electrocution or firing squad cause excruciating pain and are cruel and unusual punishments. South Carolina hasn't conducted an execution since 2011. Since then, the state's lethal injection drugs have expired and administrators have been unable to buy more. That led lawmakers in 2021 to pass a bill essentially requiring condemned inmates to be electrocuted unless they choose the firing squad.
  • Cellist Claire Bryant released her debut solo album this month entitled, "Whole Heart" at the Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville where she teaches music to prisoners.
  • A South Carolina judge has ruled that the state’s newly created execution firing squad and its use of the electric chair are unconstitutional. Judge Jocelyn Newman's decision Tuesday siding with four death row inmates is sure to be swiftly appealed as the state struggles to implement its new execution protocols. Last month, Newman heard arguments from lawyers for four men on the state’s death row, who said that the prisoners would feel terrible pain whether their bodies were “cooking” by electricity or heart stopped by a marksman’s bullet. The state's experts said death by firing squad or electric chair would be instantaneous and the condemned would not feel any pain. Corrections Department officials said they are “assessing the ruling.” Gov. Henry McMaster said he would appeal.
  • It's unknown how long a stay will hold off the execution of South Carolina's first-ever inmate to be put to death by a firing squad as his attorneys pursue legal challenges. But the issuance of Richard Bernard Moore's death warrant has renewed interest in how a state puts in motion its plans to shoot an inmate to death. South Carolina had planned to put Moore to death by firing squad on April 29. The state added the method to its approved capital punishment methods last year. Since then, prisons officials have been retrofitting the death chamber to add a slot in the wall through which three volunteers will shoot rifles at the condemn's heart.