Crime bill’s aim is to cut prison population

Associated PressJanuary 30, 2014 

— The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to take comments on an omnibus crime bill on Friday.

Committee chair John Coghill says the thrust of the bill is to reduce the state’s rapidly growing prison population while setting into play cost-saving measures. The recently opened Goose Creek prison cost the state $250 million.

If the state’s inmate population continues to grow at its present rate, it is projected to surpass housing capacity after 2017.

The sweeping bill attacks the issue on many fronts from raising the monetary threshold for a crime to be deemed a felony, electronic monitoring, new rules for probation officers and a fund giving assistance to newly released inmates.

The bill also calls for an analysis on what a new criminal law would cost in 10 years.

— Associated Press

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