South Carolina Pardon and Parole Laws


Eligibility for Parole

Pursuant to South Carolina Statutes, in all cases cognizable under this chapter the Board may, upon ten days’ written notice to the solicitor and judge who participated in the trial of any prisoner, parole a prisoner convicted of a crime and imprisoned in the state penitentiary, in any jail, or upon the public works of any county who if:

(1) sentenced for not more than thirty years has served at least one-third of the term;

(2) sentenced to life imprisonment or imprisonment for any period in excess of thirty years, has served at least ten years.

In computing parole eligibility, no deduction of time may be allowed in any case for good behavior, but after June 30, 1981, there must be deductions of time in all cases for earned work credits, notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 16-3-20, 16-11-330, and 24-13-230.

However, the Board may parole any prisoner not sooner than one year prior to the prescribed date of parole eligibility when, based on medical information furnished to it, the Board determines that the physical condition of the prisoner concerned is so serious that he would not be reasonably expected to live for more than one year. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section or of law, no prisoner who has served a total of ten consecutive years or more in prison may be paroled until the Board has first received a report as to his mental condition and his ability to adjust to life outside the prison from a duly qualified psychiatrist or psychologist[i].

The board may issue an order authorizing the parole which must be signed either by a majority of its members or by all three members meeting as a parole panel on the case ninety days prior to the effective date of the parole; however, at least two-thirds of the members of the board must authorize and sign orders authorizing parole for persons convicted of a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60.  A provisional parole order must include the terms and conditions, if any, to be met by the prisoner during the provisional period and terms and conditions, if any, to be met upon parole. Upon satisfactory completion of the provisional period, the director or one lawfully acting for him must issue an order which, if accepted by the prisoner, must provide for his release from custody.  However, upon a negative determination of parole, prisoners in confinement for a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60 must have their cases reviewed every two years for the purpose of a determination of parole, except that prisoners who are eligible for parole pursuant to Section 16-25-90, and who are subsequently denied parole must have their cases reviewed every twelve months for the purpose of a determination of parole.  This section applies retroactively to a prisoner who has had a parole hearing pursuant to Section 16-25-90 prior to the effective date of this act[ii].

Order of Parole

Pursuant to the South Carolina law, the board must issue an order authorizing the parole which must be signed by at least a majority of its members with terms and conditions, if any, but at least two-thirds of the members of the board must sign orders authorizing parole for persons convicted of a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60.  The director, or one lawfully acting for him, then must issue a parole order which, if accepted by the prisoner, provides for his or her release from custody.  Upon a negative determination of parole, prisoners in confinement for a violent crime as defined in Section 16-1-60 must have their cases reviewed every two years for the purpose of a determination of parole[iii].

Effect of Parole

The statutes further provide that any prisoner who has been paroled is subject during the remainder of his original term of imprisonment, up to the maximum, to the conditions and restrictions imposed in the order of parole or by law imposed.  Every such paroled prisoner must remain in the jurisdiction of the board and may at any time on the order of the board, be imprisoned as and where therein designated[iv].

Term of Parole

However, any prisoner who may be paroled under authority of this chapter must continue on parole until the expiration of the maximum term or terms specified in his sentence without deduction of such allowance for good conduct as may be provided for by law[v].

Violation of Parole

Furthermore, upon failure of any prisoner released on parole under the provisions of this chapter to do or refrain from doing any of the things set forth and required to be done by and under the terms of his parole, the parole agent must issue a warrant or citation recording the violation of parole, and a final determination must be made by the board as to whether the prisoner’s parole should be revoked and whether he should be required to serve any part of the remaining unserved sentence. But such prisoner must be eligible to parole thereafter when and if the board thinks such parole would be proper.  The board must be the sole judge as to whether or not parole has been violated and no appeal therefrom must be allowed; provided, that any person arrested for violation of terms of parole may be released on bond, for good cause shown, pending final determination of the violation by the Probation, Parole and Pardon Board.  No bond must be granted except by the presiding or resident judge of the circuit wherein the prisoner is arrested, or, if there be no judge within such circuit, by the judge, presiding or resident, in an adjacent circuit, and the judge granting the bond must determine the amount thereof[vi].

Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Pardon

Pursuant to the South Carolina statutes, probationers must be considered upon the request of the individual anytime after discharge from supervision.  Persons discharged from a sentence without benefit of parole must be considered upon the request of the individual anytime after the date of discharge.  Parolees must be considered for a pardon upon the request of the individual anytime after the successful completion of five years under supervision. Parolees successfully completing the maximum parole period, if less than five years, must be considered for pardon upon the request of the individual anytime after the date of discharge.  An inmate must be considered for pardon before a parole eligibility date only when he can produce evidence comprising the most extraordinary circumstances.  The victim of a crime or a member of a convicted person’s family living within this State may petition for a pardon for a person who has completed supervision or has been discharged from a sentence.  Persons discharged from a sentence without benefit of supervision must be considered upon the request of the individual anytime after the date of discharge[vii].

Pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-960, each pardon application must be accompanied with a pardon application fee of one hundred dollars.  The pardon application fee must be retained and applied by the department toward the pardon process.  Any individual who has an application for pardon considered but denied, must wait one year from the date of denial before filing another pardon application and fee.

South Carolina Pardon and Parole Laws

[i] S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-610.

[ii] S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-645.

[iii] S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-650.

[iv] S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-660.

[v] S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-670.

[vi] S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-680.

[vii] S.C. Code Ann. § 24-21-950.