From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:
Numbers from the Department of Corrections show that in 2013 there were 91 inmates released every month from state prisons. The question now is what type of medical treatment did they receive inside and who is making sure they are treated once they have served their time.
A class action lawsuit alleging improper use of solitary confinement and a lack of treatment for inmates who are mentally ill was first filed against SCDC back in 2005. In January of 2014 there was finally a ruling.
Officials at the Department of Corrections say they are taking steps for better care like training of staff and changes in disciplinary actions regarding the mentally ill-- as well as contacting mental health providers on the outside to continue treatment after release- something that may be needed considering the return rate.
The numbers from the SCDC show that between 2006 and 2009 on average, the mentally ill return to prison 31.4% of the time. The 2010 numbers show the return rate for those shown as not requiring treatment was 21.3% for those who maxed-out their sentences and 19.3% for the paroled.
Those at the Charleston County Detention Center are some of the first to deal with mentally ill offenders before prison. Sheriff's Department spokesperson Eric Watson says they are seeing more inmates in need of treatment and roughly 25% of the population at the jail is considered to have a mental illness.
"We have mental health councilors they assess them to find out their condition and what level of illness they have. Once that is done the information is forwarded to a doctor who comes in and examines them personally. Sometimes they placed on medication sometimes they are just monitored while incarcerated. "
Nationwide when it comes to the prison population South Carolina spends the least amount of money per inmate with a daily cost of $50.13 in 2013.
Photo Credit: Nicole_K Shutterstock