Charleston County jail bookings and charges have fallen by 52 percent and its population has decreased by 20 percent in the last five years, as law enforcement agencies seek to curb unnecessary incarcerations, according to a new annual report from Charleston County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC).
The report found that instead of municipal and magistrate cases making up the lion’s share of incarcerations at the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center, as was the case in 2014, now General Sessions court cases are the most frequent use for the jail.
People booked more than once in a year also fell by 51 percent since 2014.
For the last two years, the most common charge reported was driving under the influence. In 2018, the second most common was simple possession of marijuana. In 2019, that charge fell to the sixth-most common.
According to the report, CJCC has pushed for agencies to “rethink jail use” by reducing single-target charge bookings for simple possession of marijuana, open container, trespassing, public intoxication and misdemeanor shoplifting. The report found those charges continued to decline between 2018 and 2019.