State prisoners could serve in jails amid staffing shortage

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina legislators are considering changing state laws that would allow short-sentenced criminals to serve in county jails due to prison staffing shortages.

The Post and Courier reports an audit council released a report Monday on the Department of Corrections.

The report says the state has to either hire more staff or house fewer inmates to improve prison operations. It says increasing sentence requirements for state imprisonment could decrease inmate numbers.

Inmates sentenced to more than three months must be sent to a state prison, which is the lowest minimum state sentence in the nation.

About a third of the 2,350 state prison officer positions were vacant as of Aug. 1.

The council says counties need to be compensated for the influx of inmates but a figure hasn't been proposed yet.