S.C. Department of Corrections Director Says State Prisons Need More Guards
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)- SCDC Director Bryan Stirling said the prison guard to inmate national ratio is around 4 to 30 but he stated some penitentiaries in our state fall well below that average.
“Some institutions on a post, when they walk in, there could be one officer and there could be over 200 offenders in that dorm,” said Stirling.
Director Stirling said the department is doing all it can to help meet the need for guards. “We clearly need more officers. We are doing some things with unit managers, we’re doing overtime, overlapping shifts, and if it gets to a point where we think it’s not safe, we have to lock the institution down and we monitor that all the time,” said Stirling.
Senators questioned Stirling about recent deaths inside several state prisons. He said he cannot comment due to ongoing investigations but he did say guards are most vulnerable when they are trying to remove contraband.
“The most dangerous times for our officers is when they try to take contraband or a cell phone. We’ve seen that repeatedly, and we train on how to do that. That’s one of the things that we have to do,” said Stirling.
In addition to seeking new guards, Stirling also said the department is focusing on retention, working with current guards to keep them at the department.