SC House eliminates minimum drug sentences in reform bill

South Carolina News

FILE – In this April 8, 2020 file photo, personal bottles of hand sanitizer sit on the desk of each South Carolina House member ahead of a special one-day legislative session in Columbia, S.C. lawmakers had planned to meet for a few hours Wednesday so they wouldn’t have to meet again until at least the summer to avoid the coronavirus. But a breakdown means at least one of the chambers will have to return before July 1 and pass a bill allowing the state to continue operating without a budget or South Carolina will shut down.(AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina House has passed a bill this week eliminating mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes.

The bill passed on a 62-45 vote Wednesday also reduces the amount of time drug offenders have to serve in prison for some offenses. House Judiciary Chairman Chris Murphy says the bill brings South Carolina laws in line with its neighbors and the federal government.

It reduces the amount of time prisoners have to serve on drug offenses that do not offer parole to 65% of their sentence. Current law requires them to serve 85% of their sentences. That proposal is retroactive and would cut the sentences of about 500 of the state’s 20,000 inmates.

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