Senator Allen was able to pass an initiative to educate and prepare inmates for hire before they are discharged. The program, endorsed by Governor Haley has become a model for the nation. Its goal is an expungement of the inmate’s record through the collaboration of the DOC, Parole & Probation, business, education, SC workforce, solicitors initiatives and others connected to preparing inmates to re-enter to society in productive ways in an effort to cut down on recidivism rates.
As a member of the Senate Corrections and Penology Committee and the Criminal Justice Subcommittee, the Senator has introduced numerous pieces of legislation critical to criminal justice reform. Among them:
- A bill to allow inmates to attend the funerals of family members.
- A bill requiring SLED to create and operate a statewide sexual assault kit tracking system.
- A bill eliminating leg, waist, or ankle restraints on pregnant inmates inside a correctional facility detention center, prison or work camp. As well as a provision for no restraints to be used during labor, postpartum recuperation, and the initial bonding with the newborn.
- An Early Release bill for inmates convicted of “no parole offense” under certain circumstances who have served 65% of their sentence.
- Served as chairman of the Expungement Committee leading to legislation which expanded offenses that could be eliminated from someone’s record.
A National Model in Reform
Senator Allen hosts an annual “Second Chance Forum” in West Greenville that includes solicitors, SC Probation, Pardon and Parole, SC Works, industry and business under one roof. 1,200 people come through the gathering over four hours. The idea is to get citizens with challenges on their records to interview and gain job skills and information to get trained and their records expunged to re-enter society with employment. Governor Nikki Haley challenged Karl to press into the idea of a model program with the goal of expungement for non-violent offenders. Many leave the forum gainfully employed, while others have new contacts and a plan for gaining meaningful employment upon their release. “These citizens,” according to Senator Allen, “upon their release are going to be next to you in the grocery store, gas stations, neighbors and working and living next to you. Why not work together to give them the skills they need to re-enter society and the workforce in positive ways instead of being released and returning to a life of crime?” Together We Can!
“These citizens, upon their release are going to be next to you in the grocery store, gas stations, neighbors and working and living next to you. Why not work together to give them the skills they need to re-enter society and the workforce in positive ways instead of being released and returning to a life of crime?”
Senator Karl Allen