Program targets young offenders, sees success

Following violence over the weekend in North Charleston, Jack Logan, founder of Put Down the Guns Now Young People, drove to the Lowcountry. On a busy intersection along Rivers Avenue, he warned young people are getting involved with guns, violence, drugs, and crime. He says he’s tired of seeing young people kill each other and end up in jail.

While Jack works outside jails to prevent arrests, the “Real-Time Reentry” program is tracking young offenders after being released from jail.  So far, none of the people in the program have been rearrested.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) partnered with the South Carolina United States Attorney’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to keep guns out of the hands of former offenders.

The project  is two- fold.  In part,  the project focuses on violent offenders and gang members who, after their release, re-offend with firearms while still under SCDC’s Intensive Supervision Services.  The program ensures their swift arrest and referral to federal authorities.

On the prevention side,  the program offers proactive intervention.   Assistant United States Attorneys (AUSAs) from the U.S. Attorney’s office and law enforcement officials visit with Youthful Offenders in prison to warn about the significant consequences if they re-offend with a gun while under supervision, post-release.  The message is simple but serious – if caught with a firearm or ammunition, you will be taken into custody immediately and your case referred to ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s office in “real time” for federal review and prosecution in federal court, where firearms-related sentences for repeat-offenders are much more substantial.

Real-Time Reentry kicked off, December 7, 2015, when AUSAs and law enforcement officials met with 46 Youthful Offenders at the Trenton SCDC facility.  Going forward, the Real Time Reentry team will return once a month to educate and encourage those individuals preparing for re-entry into their communities. So far, none of the young offenders have been back in jail.


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