COLUMBIA - A lawsuit by three South Carolina inmates that makes a host of stomach-turning food-service allegations against the state has been moved from Charleston County to Richland Count
Six months ago, residents of the Laney-Walker neighborhood were frightened that a state-run transition center for soon-to-be-paroled inmates would dump drug activity and violence into their already fragile community. Today, homeowners in the east Augusta district are concerned about the kind of trees that will be planted outside the 200-bed facility. "You always have a fear of the unknown," said Stanley Hawes, the president of the Laney-Walker Neighborhood Association. "So once you have knowledge, it's a different thing."
For the third time in roughly 12 months, the state will make a pitch to local officials for permission to build a 200-bed halfway house for soon-to-be-paroled prisoners. The transition center, which was approved earlier this month by the planning commission, would be run by the Georgia Department of Corrections and serve inmates from the Augusta area.
The Medical College of Georgia will be responsible for the health care of the state's 35,000 prison inmates under an agreement signed by MCG and corrections officials Wednesday. Beginning July 1, 1997, MCG will take over health-care operations from Delaware-based Prison Health Services, a private company which has held the roughly $60 million annual contract with the Department of Corrections since last year.