COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The budget proposal headed for debate by the South Carolina House includes roughly $50 million to boost state law enforcement and better secure prisons.
The House Ways and Means spending plan for 2013-14 calls for hiring 25 agents to supervise parolees, 10 natural resource officers and 15 people at the State Law Enforcement Division. It would also add 18 highway troopers through a personnel shift.
Rep. Mike Pitts says public safety agencies need to be restored following recession-era budget cuts. His subcommittee's plan would represent the second consecutive year of employee increases. Still, officers' ranks wouldn't return to 2008 levels.
Officer safety issues in prisons also stem from years of neglect. Legislators didn't want to give money to corrections and appear to be showing a soft side for inmates.