MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The number of sexual predators behind bars in South Carolina has nearly doubled in the past five years and the state is spending $7.4 million to keep 119 of the most dangerous ones locked up, after their prison sentences are over.
A number of states are struggling to afford programs to keep sex offenders behind bars for additional treatment, according to a recent Associated Press story.
SC lawmakers told The Post and Courier of Charleston the money is well spent and they said program is not in danger because it has such broad public support.
Some say keeping predators considered "most likely to strike again" behind bars, is worth the money, even in tough economic times.
"There are way too many sex offenders out here in the streets and too many people have to worry about their children in the streets and worry about where they are going to live and can't live," Bob DiSadato said. "That money is not going to make a big difference in the budget right now and it will make a big difference in people's safety and kid's safety."
Other people argue too much cash is going toward the programs under the sexually violent predator act. Especially since the state has been forced to slash other programs and make cuts in the budget.
"Too much money right now," Cody Sellers said. "They can put it towards food stamps or helping the older people."
Since 1998 when the program began, 65 offenders have been released after being treated. These sex offenders are kept in a maximum security prison in Columbia.