Taxpayers spend $1.7 mill in 3 mo. for payouts from Dept. of Corrections

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - South Carolina spent $1,686,950.50 on payouts for claims made against the South Carolina Department of Corrections from September through November, according to data from the state’s Insurance Reserve Fund.

The most recent data on payouts made in November show about $412,000 paid for claims made against the SCDC.

During September, the state paid about $221,000 for those settlements.

In October, the SCDC cost taxpayers more than $1 million in payouts, which is more than half of the total money spent to settle claims against the department in the three-month span.

“I mean it’s a lot of money, so I have to say I’m not really comfortable with that,” Charleston resident Christine Shrimpton said.

The cause of each claim made against the SCDC varies.

Data from the IRF indicates a claim was made against the SCDC in October with the cause listed as “diagnosis,” which cost taxpayers about $300,000.

IRF data also shows settlements for two claims against the SCDC labeled “brutality” in both October and November.

Several claims labeled as “civil rights” and “cruel and unusual” were also listed in the state’s payouts involving claims with the SCDC.

“If we’re spending that much money, then there has to be something going on that has to be looked into, addressed immediately,” Charleston resident Valerie Boozer said.

But some people said there might be explanations behind the payouts.

“Because I have some family members in law enforcement, so that kind of worries me on both sides because there’s obviously things on their side, too,” Shrimpton said.

After a request for comment at about 5:30 p.m., a spokesperson from the Department of Corrections said he was not able to review the information because it was requested too late.

But in a statement, the spokesperson said the department makes an effort to save taxpayer dollars.

“SCDC has implemented a central command operations center, telehealth programs, electronic medical records to save taxpayer dollars and reduced recidivism through partnerships with other agencies, community organizations, and companies,” Department of Corrections Spokesperson Dexter Lee said.

Still, some people tell me they would like to see that money spent on other things in South Carolina besides just settling concerning claims.

“With a child in school, I can think of a lot better ways we can be spending our money, but it makes me wonder what’s going on that we’re spending that much money,” Boozer said.

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