About PPP

Sentencing Reform

Glossary of Terms

As a result of the unanimous passage of the Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act (SRA) of 2010, South Carolina has made great strides in the field of criminal justice reform. The various mandates of the SRA were the impetus for implementation of alternative strategies to incarceration in order to reduce the state’s reliance on prisons. The overall goal of the SRA was to reduce crime in cost effective ways, as well as:

  1. Adopt reasonable sentencing reforms by increasing the consequences for certain violent offenses while ensuring fairness and certainty in sentencing; as well as make certain justice for crime victims.
  2. Improve release practices through the implementation of cost-effective reentry strategies to improve successful transition from incarceration to the community for eligible inmates.
  3. Strengthen probation and parole by shifting limited resources to supervise high risk-offenders using evidence-based practices while implementing new supervision strategies geared towards those offenders least likely to re-offend.
  4. Establish ongoing oversight through the formation of the Sentencing Reform Oversight Committee (SROC) which is tasked with reviewing the implementation of the recommendations made by the Sentencing Reform Commission.

Evidence Based Practices

Evidence-based practices are program, practices, and policies supported by theory and considered effective based on rigorous testing and scientific evaluation. The overall goal of evidenced-based correctional practices is to hold offenders accountable while reducing recidivism.

There are several guiding-principles of evidence-based practices currently in use by the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, including:

  • The use of a scientific assessment tool to determine the likelihood an offender will reoffend; and the degree in which certain criminogenic factors linked to criminal behavior are present. (i.e.: criminal history, family issues, substance abuse, education and employment.)
  • Targeting interventions based on the risk-needs-responsivity (RNR) principle. The RNR principle is founded on philosophies which suggest:
    • supervision priority should be given to higher risk offenders
    • the focus should be on factors linked to criminal behavior that can be changed
    • referrals should be responsive to individual needs- including learning style, gender, motivation, temperament and culture.
  • The need to measure relevant processes and practices while providing feedback where appropriate is very important.

The Department has implemented a several tools to evaluate key performance measures related to the implementation efforts of the Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act of 2010. These assessment tools include a comprehensive evaluation plan consisting of each of the programs and practices implemented as a result of the SRA.

In order to achieve its mission to Prepare, Provide and Protect, the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services recognizes the use of evidence-based practices as key factor in the establishment of safer communities by facilitating positive behavioral change in the offenders under supervision in the community.