A new report leads the way for a jail and court overhaul in Charleston County.
The report, which was released Thursday by the Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, outlines six steps over the next three years to overhaul how non-violent offenders are handled in the jail and court system.
Within the three year timeline, the group hopes to lower bookings, reduce the length of stay pending trial, and address racial disproportionality by creating a triage center to be used in lieu of jail; address root behaviors leading to crime; improve court efficiency among other things.
Specifically the report highlights disparities between the rate of black and white people arrested. Black people are 4.84 times more likely to be arrested and booked into the detention center than white people. The national average is 4.37.
The report finds 631 “frequent flyers” were booked into the jail five or more times between 2013 and 2014. Local experts say those people often suffer from mental illness, drug addiction, and/or homelessness. Efforts are now underway to create a triage center to help those people and offer police an alternative to jail.
“We want to make sure jail is used for the right reasons and improve police-community relations,” the report stated
The report found 73 bookings per day into the Charleston County jail for low level offense including shoplifting, failure to pay child support, public intoxication, and loitering.
The report also revealed 70% of people detained are not convicted, higher than the national average of 60%.