SC Prisons Allowed to Operate in the Red

(AP) _ The agency overseeing South Carolina’sprisons has won approval to run a deficit of up to $29 million thisyear. At least one powerful lawmaker is encouraging the CorrectionsDepartment to consider the early release of nonviolent offenders. The Budget and Control Board agreed Tuesday to let the agencyspend more money than it has in its budget after midyearreductions. Board member and Senate Finance Committee Chairman HughLeatherman of Florence says it’s time for the CorrectionsDepartment to look at the early release of nonviolent inmates. Prisons director Jon Ozmint says he’ll meet with Leatherman.Ozmint says he isn’t sure he can release inmates early without anew law. Ozmint’s boss, Gov. Mark Sanford, is leery of earlyreleases because of concerns about crime victims. (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)