Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Babur De Los Santos

Committee Member

Devon Merritt Haskell Gorry

Committee Member

Christopher Aspen Gorry


This thesis evaluates the policy response to the criminal justice crisis of South Carolina, Senate Bill (SB) 1154, dubbed the Omnibus Crime Reduction and Sentencing Reform Act of 2010. SB 1154 adopted a series of “common sense” reforms, including new charges constituting as violent crimes, redefined sentences in the form of reduced penalties and harsher penalties for nonviolent and violent crimes respectively, mandated supervision of individuals on probation or parole, and credit programs for early release of inmates among other provisions intended to reduce inmate population, recidivism and violent crime rates.

I examine three key factors: inmate, imprisonment and violent crime rates on a per 100,000 people basis. I examine incarceration rates associated with violent and nonviolent crimes, comparing this metric to yearly observations prior to SB 1154’s implementation. I identify changes in inmate, imprisonment and violent crime rates that can be attributed to SB 1154’s policy guidance using a difference-in-differences OLS regression, using Virginia and Georgia as baseline comparisons.

There is supporting evidence of SB 1154’s impact in reducing inmate population and imprisonment rates, and possibly influencing violent crime rates downwards in South Carolina during the 2010-2015 policy period, some of which demonstrate large magnitudes of change. Revisiting the policy with current criminal justice statistics could detail the longstanding effect of SB 1154 on reducing the prison population and recidivism rates in South Carolina.



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