Senate votes to confirm Stirling as S.C. prison director

jmonk@thestate.comFebruary 20, 2014 

Stirling answers questions during a committee hearing ealrier this month.

JMONK@THESTATE.COM — JOHN MONK

COLUMBIA, SC Bryan Stirling is the new permanent director of the S.C. Department of Corrections.

Stirling, 43, was confirmed Wednesday by the South Carolina State Senate as the permanent director by a vote of 33-0.

The new director has inherited a highly-publicized court action that recently resulted in a state judge issuing a historic and sweeping ruling that sharply criticized the state’s treatment of its mentally ill prisoners and ordered the state to make major improvements.

So far, Stirling has taken some steps to upgrade those conditions, but the plaintiffs in the lawsuit say much remains to be done, both by the corrections department and in increased funding by the Legislature. The final outcome remains to be seen.

Stirling was nominated for the post last September by Gov. Nikki Haley. At that time, he was her former chief of staff. Prior to that, he was a deputy Attorney General for both Henry McMaster and Alan Wilson.

As state prison director, Stirling oversees a staff of 5,700 employees, a prison archipelago of 26 penal institutions around the state and 21,400 inmates.

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