South Carolina Department of Corrections

The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) is the agency responsible for corrections in the U.S. state of South Carolina. It currently has about 4,500 employees and just over 15,000 inmates, in 21 institutions. The agency has its headquarters in Columbia.[2]

South Carolina Department of Corrections
MottoSafety, Service, Stewardship
Agency overview
Preceding agency
  • South Carolina State Penitentiary
EmployeesApprox. 4,500
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdictionSouth Carolina, USA
Map of South Carolina Department of Corrections's jurisdiction
Size32,020 square miles (82,900 km2)
Population4,479,800 (2008 est.)[1]
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersColumbia, South Carolina
Elected officer responsible
Agency executive
  • Bryan P. Stirling, Director
SCDC Website



The South Carolina penal system was essentially founded in 1866, when the first state penitentiary was constructed.[3] The SCDC was created in 1960, when the state governor decided to end abuses in the previous system (particularly the use of convict labor on private property as a form of political reward). The new SCDC removed chains and stripes from inmates' uniforms, and it established inmate education programs.[citation needed]

The numbers of inmates since the SCDC creation are as follows: 2,073 (1960); 2,705 (1970); 7,869 (1980); 16,149 (1990); 22,053 (2000); 24,710 (2010); 16,169 (2020). [4]



The Palmetto Unified School District (PUSD), established in 1981, provides educational services to inmates in the system. The district board of trustees meetings are held at the William D. Leeke Administration Building.[5]

In 2018, press reports indicated the department was short five hundred corrections officers.[6]

Death row


Even though the main state penitentiary is Lee Correctional Institution, the state's death row for men is located at Broad River Correctional Institution.[7] The state's death row for women is located at the Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution.[8] Executions occur at the Broad River Correctional Institution.[7]

From 1912 to January 1990 male death row inmates were housed in the Central Correctional Institution (CCI). BRCI held male death row inmates from January 1990 to April 12, 1997, when male death row inmates were moved to Lieber. In September 2017, male death row inmates were moved to Kirkland. From 1912 to 1986 executions were carried out at CCI. From 1990 onwards executions occur at BRCI.[7]

Fallen officers


Since the establishment of the South Carolina Department of Corrections, four officers have died in the line of duty. The Last of which was Captain John Olin Sanders on December 12, 1937[9]

See also


Further reading

  • Thompson, Heather Ann (April 28, 2013). "How a South Carolina Prison Riot Really Went Down". New York Times.


  1. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2008". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 9, 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-01.
  2. ^ "Statistics." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on April 12, 2021.
  3. ^ [A History of South Carolina During Reconstruction, Francis Butler Simkins, 1931]
  4. ^ "Statistical Reports". South Carolina Dept of Corrections. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Palmetto Unified School District 1." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
  6. ^ Fausset, Richard (16 April 2018). "Guards Waited Hours to Stop a Prison Riot That Left 7 Inmates Dead". New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  7. ^ a b c "Death Row / Capital Punishment". South Dakota Department of Corrections. 2023-07-01. Archived from the original on 2023-07-01. Retrieved 2024-05-26.
  8. ^ "Graham (Camille Griffin) Correctional Institution." South Carolina Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 17, 2010. "The institution also functions as a major special management unit with the ability to house female death row inmates and county safekeepers."
  9. ^ "South Carolina Department of Corrections, SC". The Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP). Retrieved 2021-05-25.