Over the last decade, South Carolina courts have sustained drastic reductions to basic operational funding. South Carolina currently has fewer judges per capita than any other state — one for every 100,000 people. Inadequate funding for the third branch of government has consequences that hit home for all of us: backlogs worsen and citizens wait longer for their cases to be heard; small counties are hurt when judges are restricted from travel; and public safety is threatened when repeat offenders are left on the streets.
The good news is that, earlier this week, our legislature approved a state budget which includes funding for six new family court judges and three new circuit court judges. Thank you to our legislators for recognizing this dire need and taking steps to ensure our courts function at their highest level. Access to justice is a core responsibility of government, and changes are imperative to ensure the constitutional rights of citizens are preserved.
The writer lives in Surfside Beach.