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Proposals include incentives for hiring formerly incarcerated individuals

Posted: December 27, 2013 - 1:07pm

COLUMBIA — South Carolina employers would have an economic incentive to hire people who had served time in prison or jail, if a bill introduced before the January session becomes law.
Incoming Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, prefiled S. 907 on Dec. 17. The proposal would allow an employer to receive up to $50,000 tax credit in a given year, with the option of applying any unused credit to the next year’s liability.

The legislation specifies that hiring a formerly incarcerated individual in exchange for tax incentives would apply only to employees who had not had a full-time job since the end of their incarceration and who had not been charged or convicted of a crime since that time.

The tax credits would not be available in exchange for hiring people who’d been convicted of certain violent offenses.

South Carolina’s inmate population in 2013 was slightly above 22,000, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Data show a gradual decline in the total population after a high in 2009 and 2010, when it was just greater than 24,000.

Also on Dec. 17, an Up­state Democrat introduced a pair of bills, S. 899 and S. 900, which also focus on ways to reintroduce convicts to normal society after completing incarceration.

The first of the two proposals profiled by Sen. Karl Allen, D-Greenville, is named “The South Carolina Second Chance Act.”

If passed into law, it would allow people with certain convictions for misdemeanors and felonies, to have them expunged, if they meet certain conditions.

Allen’s related proposal, S. 900, would form a panel to look into the topic of clearing records.

The legislation would create a committee that could recommend changes to the law to the General Assembly. The committee would examine expungement laws in other states and statistics and other information from the courts, the Prosecution Coordination Commission, and the Public Defenders’ Association.

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