Police backing two bills aimed at criminals on parole

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Many criminals commit crimes when they're out on bond for other crimes. In fact, Charleston police say its not unusual for suspects to be out on seven or eight bonds.

But law enforcement across the state want to stop the cycle of repeat offenders, so they're supporting two bills they hope become law, and asking the community for their support.

Vanessa Halyard's son was killed in 1998 by a man with a long criminal record, who she says should not have been walking free. She's a member of the Homicide Survivors support group, and stands behind Charleston police chief Greg Mullen on these bills.

"The idea that these folks have committed crimes before and nothing was done that makes our loss that much harder," said Halyard.

The first  bill is S-6 which would deny bail to repeat violent offenders.

"Currently the law does not require the judge to look at pending charges now. This bill would require the judge to look at pending charges and other behavior," said Mullen.

Mullen says many criminals are out on multiple bonds and if this bill passes, they would stay locked up.

The second bill, S-191, would allow warrant-less searches on people who are out on probation or parole. Mullen says it would let police officers fill in the gap and help parole officers, who are already over-extended.

"Nine-to-five, Monday through Friday, you have a full monitoring capability but on weekends and night that capability is not there and that's when you have the most violent crimes and crimes in general," said Mullen.

And while some claim it would violate Civil Rights, Mullen says it would simply be a condition of their release.

They could either stay  locked up and subject to searches or they could have the privilege of serving out their sentence in the community on parole but they'd still have to agree to having these searches.

Mullen believes the possibility of being searched on the streets will deter many criminals out on parole from further offenses.

Halyard says it will take these laws to keep criminals from manipulating the system.

"We have to save our communities, have to save our children, have to save our leaders for tomorrow," said Halyard.

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