SLC Human Services & Public Safety Committee

Among states’ most pressing concerns are ensuring the public’s general welfare and protection, with both areas constituting increasing shares of state budgets. States have been taking the lead in health policy, welfare reform and child care, and have maintained their predominant role in the areas of public safety, corrections and sentencing. The Human Services & Public Safety Committee has a broad agenda which most typically addresses the challenges states face in the areas of human services and corrections, and policies and programs utilized to meet them. The Committee has undertaken assessments of Medicaid and reform; nursing shortages; long-term healthcare; and such corrections issues as criminal justice DNA statutes; the aging inmate population; female offenders; mental health parity in prisons, and prison staffing patterns in Southern states.


Katrina Shealy

South Carolina

Vice Chair

Past Chair

(Former) Senator
Doug Overbey



Roger Moore

Roger Moore
Policy Analyst

Recent Research

Policy Analysis | June 22, 2017

Bail and Pretrial Reforms in Southern States

Mitchell Gray

Lawmakers in several SLC member states have enacted legislation aimed at reducing correctional populations and curtailing costs by addressing bail and pretrial options. According to the Vera Institute of Justice, 62 percent of people in jail are not serving sentences but, rather, waiting for their cases to be heard. While there are limited examples of extensive bail reform in SLC states, other pretrial options, such as court notification systems, supervision services, and other community-based programs, have been implemented. State lawmakers also have sought to increase felony theft thresholds: the monetary value that prosecutors use to categorize stolen money or property as a felony. Multiple SLC states have enacted legislation detailing methods for collecting fines and fees from indigent defendants, for example, through individualized payment plans, reduced and/or deferred fines, or community service in lieu of owed payments. The information below reflects the trends in policies relating to bail reform and pretrial processes in SLC states.

Jail population by conviction status

Source: Prison Policy Initiative (accessed June 22, 2017)

Median annual pre-incarceration incomes for people in local jails unable to post a bail bond, ages 23-39, in $USD (2015), by race/ethnicity and gender.

Note: The median bail bond amount nationally is almost a full year’s income for the average person unable to post a bail bond.
Source: Prison Policy Initiative (accessed June 22, 2017)

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SLC Regional Resource | April 1, 2017

Body-Worn Cameras: Laws and Policies in the South

Nick Bowman

In recent years, several high-profile, law enforcement officer-involved shootings have thrust body-worn cameras (BWCs), or the lack thereof, into the spotlight. Proponents of BWCs maintain that they increase law enforcement transparency and improve relations between law enforcement and citizens. In contrast, BWC opponents argue that the cameras give an incomplete picture of incidents and add another cost to operating budgets which, in many law enforcement agencies (LEAs), already are stretched thin.

Due to the recent emergence of BWCs and their rapidly developing technology, LEAs and governments still are developing policies and statutes to regulate their use. This SLC Regional Resource examines the history of and predecessors to BWCs; policy issues associated with them, including considerations for implementation such as data storage, staffing and privacy; and existing laws and policies that regulate their use in the 15 SLC member states.

Policy Analysis | March 30, 2017

Human Trafficking

Roger Moore

The Southern Legislative Conference has previously focused on the issue of human trafficking. For further reference, see the 2009 SLC Regional Resource, Human Trafficking: Preventing, Prosecuting and Protecting, and 2013 SLC Webinar, Human Trafficking: State Responses to Modern-Day Slavery.

In the past several years, many states have introduced laws aimed at curbing human trafficking of both minors and adults. States have especially focused on increasing penalties for those convicted of trafficking, with more severe punishments when the victim involved is a minor. Punishments include decades of imprisonment and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines. Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma and West Virginia all have passed such measures in the past three to four years.

All states in the Southern region have passed anti-trafficking legislation to some degree. Provisions found in prior pieces of legislation include:

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More SLC Research into Public Safety

Policy Analysis | June 14, 2016

Pardons in SLC Member States

Webinar | June 2, 2016

SLC States and REAL ID Requirements

Policy Analysis | July 1, 2010

What are the firearms laws in the SLC states?

SLC Special Series Report | June 1, 2008

Innovative Programs in Funding State Homeland Security Needs

SLC Regional Resource | February 1, 2000

The Proposed Interstate Compact for Adult Offender Supervision