Sexual predator program costs S.C. millions

Millions spent to stay, counsel sex offenders

CHARLESTON, S.C. --- South Carolina spends $7.4 million keeping 119 of the state's most dangerous sex offenders locked up after their prison sentences have finished.

Lawmakers told The Post and Courier of Charleston that the money is well spent even in tough budget times and the program isn't in danger because it has broad public support.

A recent Associated Press report found a number of states struggling with affording programs to keep sex offenders behind bars for additional treatment.

The number of predators behind bars in South Carolina has nearly doubled since 2005, while 65 have been released after treatment since the program began in 1998.

The sexual offenders are kept in a unit deep in a Columbia maximum security prison.