Upstate sheriff proposes new legislation to establish State Work - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate sheriff proposes new legislation to establish State Work Program within SC Dept. of Corrections

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Sheriff Chuck Write introduces State Work Program. (1/21/18 FOX Carolina) Sheriff Chuck Write introduces State Work Program. (1/21/18 FOX Carolina)

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office is proposing new legislation that would introduce an inmate work program to the South Carolina Department of Corrections.

The proposed legislation would allow an eligible inmate who is committed to the South Carolina Department of Corrections to participate in the work program given the following:

  • The inmate has been convicted of a nonviolent crime; and
  • The inmate is physically able to participate in the state work program.

Per the proposed legislation, the eligible inmate would be “ordered by the court to participate and serve not less than three years and not more than five in an incarceration facility and requires an inmate to work an eight hour day for five days a week maintaining state and county roads and property, mow grass and pick up littler along state and county roads, and repair pot holes along state and county roads.”

Sheriff Chuck Wright held a press conference about the new legislation on Sunday.

The sheriff said this is "absolutely not" the same as a chain gang.

“There’s gonna be some people who go on this program and they’re gonna learn work ethic, they’re gonna get their GED in the afternoon, they’re gonna get addiction rehab, and it’s gonna make them the people they were before they started all this mess.”

Sheriff Wright says the program will revolutionize the Department of Corrections and save the state of South Carolina billions of dollars over the long run.

Sheriff Wright says he has the support of many other sheriffs in the state.  He says this program would teach work ethic and skills to inmates, while also helping beautify South Carolina.

“We can fill in potholes, we can clean up our roadways, we can clean up trash on the side of the road and make South Carolina a beautiful place to live as we know it is," Sheriff Wright said.

The department will undertake studies periodically to gauge the impact of the program, the proposal said.

A court may order that an “eligible inmate” be sentenced to the state program.

At the completion of the state work program, the inmate will be eligible to receive a certificate of earned eligibility and must be granted parole release if the written agreement of the work program is met.

The state work program work crews will not consist of more than five inmates and must be monitored by a GPS device.

SC Representative Bill Chumley (R - Spartanburg) is sponsoring the bill.  He says the bill will likely be filed this week and then assigned to a committee.

Here is the full proposal:

“Remember to pray about it," Sheriff Wright said, "This is going to be a good thing."

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