The Corrections Department will be keeping a close eye on younger offenders to keep them from heading back into prison. South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bill Byars brought the idea with him when he left the Department of Juvenile Justice to directing the state’s adult prisons.
It’s called Intensive Supervision (IS) services and is directed by Ginny Barr, who led the program at DJJ.
Barr says there will be 60 highly trained officers assigned to young, first-time offenders when they first get to prison and will work with them even after release.
AUDIO: Barr explains program, staff and approach (5:22)
Between 2008 and 2011, the state prison return rate for youthful offenders was more than 50 percent. Corrections Director Byars says that is unacceptable.
“These may be your neighbor’s kids who have made bad choices and are facing perhaps their last chance to turn their lives around,” said Byars, “I believe that it makes more sense to give them every opportunity to succeed. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing.”