Electronic sentencing sheets stop SC prison sentence errors

October 18, 2020 GMT

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A new system to enter in sentences after people in one South Carolina county are convicted in court should reduce errors that prison officials said have led to longer or shorter sentences than judges intended, officials said.

Charleston County started using the electronic sentence sheets earlier this month, officials said in a news release.

Instead of filling out paper forms, judges enter sentencing information on a computer. That data can be shared with prison officials or anyone else to make sure offenders serve their exact sentence.

Before, data entry employees had to take handwritten sentencing sheets from across the state and enter the sentencing data into a computer, which caused mistakes.

A legislative committee reviewing the South Carolina Corrections Department said keeping people in prison longer than their sentence was one of their biggest concerns with the agency.

Charleston County Clerk of Court Julie Armstrong said she hopes the electronic sentencing sheets will serve as a foundation to computerize almost all court forms.