Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment

South Carolina

I. South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce

Contact:
1550 Gadsden St.
P.O. Box 995
Columbia, SC 29202
803-737-2400
Web Site: www.dew.sc.gov

Information about State Department of Labor resources may be of interest to:
• potential employers looking for incentives to hire individuals with criminal histories;
• service providers and individuals with criminal histories who are looking for assistance in finding employment; and
• researchers and policy makers looking at current programs to ascertain what programs are effective and serve their intended purpose.

A. Federal Bonding Program
The Federal Bonding Program provides fidelity bonding insurance coverage to individuals with criminal histories and other high-risk job applicants who are qualified, but fail to get jobs because regular commercial bonding is denied due to their backgrounds.

Contact:
South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce
1550 Gadsden St.
P.O. Box 1406
Columbia, SC 29202
803-737-2593
803-737-0140 fax
Web Site: www.dew.sc.gov

B. Tax Credits
The Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) is a federal tax credit to reduce the federal tax liability of private for profit employers to be used as an incentive for employers to hire individuals from eight different targeted groups: TANF recipients, veterans, ex-felons, high risk youth, summer youth, Food Stamp recipients, SSI recipients, and vocational rehabilitation referrals.

Contact:
South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce
1550 Gadsden
P.O. Box 1406
Columbia, SC 29202
803-737-2588
803-737-0140 fax
Web Site: www.dew.sc.gov

C. Unemployment Insurance Office
Unemployment compensation is a social insurance program designed to provide benefits to most individuals out of work, generally through no fault of their own, for periods between jobs. In order to be eligible for benefits, jobless workers must demonstrate that they have worked, usually measured by amount of wages and/or weeks of work, and must be able and available for work.

The unemployment compensation program is based upon federal law, but administered by states under state law.

Unemployment insurance benefits are managed by the South Carolina Employment Security Commission. Claims can be filed through a TeleClaim line. Contact information for telephone numbers is available on the website listed below.

Contact:
South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce
1550 Gadsden St.
P.O. Box 995
Columbia, SC 29202
803-737-2400
Web Site: www.dew.sc.gov

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II. Criminal Record Repository

This is the agency individuals may contact to obtain a copy of their state rap sheet. The criminal record repository can also tell the individual who else is legally entitled to have access to his or her record.

There are two ways to request a copy of a criminal record. One may request a copy at Central Records headquarters. Fingerprints can be taken at Central Records. Alternatively, one may access the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s Carolina Access to Criminal History (SLED CATCH) page on the web site listed below and request a copy of a criminal history by using the subject’s name and date of birth. Both searches cost $25 and are payable by certified check or money order.

Contact:
Criminal Records Division
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
4400 Broad River Rd.
P.O. Box 21398
Columbia, SC 29221
803-896-7005
Web Site: www.sled.state.sc.us/

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III. State Attorney General

Employers and service providers may obtain information from the state attorney general regarding occupational bars, the licensing of individuals with criminal records in certain jobs, and whether the state has laws that limit what employers may ask job applicants or protections against employment discrimination based on a criminal record.

Contact:
Office of the Attorney General
Rembert C. Dennis Office Building
P.O. Box 11549
Columbia, SC 29211
803-734-4399
Web Site: www.scattorneygeneral.org

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IV. State Department of Corrections

Prison Industry Program

There are three levels of prison industry work available in South Carolina. The traditional program involves manufacture of office equipment and is available for sale to city, county and state government agencies. The second program is called the service program. Inmates in the program re-upholster and rebuild furniture and package commercial goods, e.g., plastic silverware, tennis balls. The third program is a Prison Industry Enterprise (PIE). Inmates who work in the PIE program pay taxes, victim compensation and room and board expenses. They are paid the prevailing local wage and manufacture hardwood flooring, apparel, and other products.

Contact:
Division of Industries
South Carolina Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 21787
4444 Broad River Rd.
Columbia, SC 29221
803-896-8516 in the Columbia area
803-896-2947 - Administration fax
Web Site: www.doc.sc.gov/PrisonIndustries/PrisonIndustries.htm

Work Release Program

Inmates are eligible for work release when they have four years or less remaining on their sentence or “max out” date. They cannot be convicted of a violent or sex offense, have no disciplinary problems for six months and have no record of escape. Inmates are not allowed to secure their own employment but are placed in jobs by Community Program Supervisors.

Contact:

Pre-Release Program

There are seven Level I A pre-release centers in South Carolina. Only minimum security, non-violent offenders are housed in these facilities. Units are work-and program-orientated providing intensive specialized programs to prepare inmates for release to the community.

Contact:
South Carolina Department of Corrections
4444 Broad River Rd.
Columbia, SC 29220
803-896-8500
Web Site: www.doc.sc.gov/

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V. South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services (SCDPPPS)

The South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services (SCDPPPS) has a model Re-Entry Initiative called “A Partnership for Change” to facilitate the re-entry of people into the community. Parole agents, along with potential employers, visit state institutions quarterly to meet with soon-to-be released prisoners to formulate aftercare plans. Importance is placed on engaging those who are “maxing out” since they face no post-release supervision and have a greater likelihood of recidivism. Funding has been reduced for this project so volunteers now provide much of the staff resources. Four days per week a job developer, a vocational rehabilitation counselor, and volunteers from the Educational Opportunity Center of the University of South Carolina are available on site at the Richland County Parole Office. Cases are monitored for 90 days and then are closed out.

Contact:
South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services
1221 Gregg St.
Columbia, SC 29203
803-734-6320
Web Site: www.dppps.sc.gov/

Contact:
South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services
2221 Devine St., Suite 600
P.O. Box 50666
Columbia, SC 29250
803-734-9202
Web Site: www.dppps.sc.gov/

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VI. Legal Assistance

Free or low-cost legal resources, both in civil and criminal law, are helpful to individuals with criminal histories in learning about relevant state laws governing the expungement or sealing of criminal histories or addressing other legal issues resulting from having a criminal history.

A. State Public Defender

In South Carolina, the Public Defender System is a county based system. The Bar Association of each county organizes a non profit corporation known as a Defender Corporation, elects members to its board of directors, and establishes a public defender office to serve that county. The Board of Directors is responsible for selecting the Public Defender who serves either at the pleasure of the Board or enters into a contract with the Board for a specific amount of time. The Defender Corporations are independent of the State but receive funding from the State via the Office of Indigent Defense, and from the local county. In some cases, the Bar Associations of two or more counties have joined to create a Corporation which serves their multiple counties. For a list of county office phone numbers visit the web site below.

Contact:
Web Site: http://www.sccid.sc.gov/public-defenders.cfm

B. Legal Services

To apply for legal services, an individual should contact the centralized intake system, Legal Aid Telephone Intake System (LATIS). Staff at LATIS screen individual calls for eligibility and provide counsel and advice or brief services where appropriate, and/or, refer the individual to the appropriate Legal Services Program office. Eligibility for assistance depends on income, asset levels, and case type.

Contact:
South Carolina Center for Equal Justice
P.O. Box 2267
Columbia, SC 29202
803-799-9668
888-346-5592 or 803-744-9430 LATIS Intake fax
Web Site: www.sclegalservicesprograms.org

C. State Bar Association

Contact:
South Carolina Bar
950 Taylor St.
Columbia, SC 29202
803-799-6653
803-799-4118 fax
Web Site: www.scbar.org

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VII. Local Service Providers

Community agencies are available to assist individuals with criminal records find employment. This information will inform individuals with criminal records about government agencies and community-based organizations that assist with employment, education or vocational training. Researchers and policy makers may find this information useful in identifying agencies and service providers in order to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs.

South Carolina Employment Security Commission

The South Carolina Employment Security Commission operates One-Stop Workforce Centers in South Carolina. One-Stop Centers offer computer access for job searches, software to assist with resume preparation and improvement of typing skills and internet access to obtain information on employment, education, training and labor market information.

Contact:
South Carolina Employment Security Commission
700 Taylor St.
P.O. Box 1406
Columbia, SC 29202
803-737-2611 general information
Web Site: www.sces.org

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