Sanford signs bill reforming prison sentences

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Gov. Mark Sanford has signed into law a measure meant to reduce the number of people going to prison in South Carolina for minor offenses.

The Republican governor formally signed the bill Wednesday morning. It is expected to save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next five years by providing improved oversight and training of nonviolent offenders on parole in hopes they'll turn their lives around.

"It's designed not only to make our corrections process even more lean and effective and thereby save taxpayers millions, but also to reduce overall crime and consequently improve the quality of life we enjoy as South Carolinians," Sanford said.

The four most common offenses for South Carolina prison inmates are drug charges, burglary, check fraud and driving under suspension.

Proponents say the new law will ensure there is prison space for high-risk, violent criminals, and those inmates will serve longer prison terms.

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