NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - New state funding means certain criminals who were caught in North Charleston will have the chance for a new lease on life.
North Charleston Police announced Monday they have the funding needed to continue the STAND program, which stands for "Step Towards a New Direction."
The program began a few years ago and targeted low-level drug dealers arrested in Charleston Farms. They were given a choice: turn their lives around or go to jail.
Those in the program must go through drug and mental health counseling, education and community service. Police say some pass with flying colors and some wind up in jail. But the goal is for them to graduate from STAND and eventually go to college or get a job.
Overall, police say it has been a success, and that the program will now also target other types of criminals and help them avoid jail.
Suspects who still have pending cases and sex offenders do not qualify.
Eight offenders graduated in December, while 16 started the program two weeks ago.
A large portion of the nearly $300,000 in funding will also go to buy body cameras for North Charleston police.