By MEG KINNARD
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) â¿¿ South Carolina's prisons agency is seeking additional money to better protect officers who watch over the state's most violent inmates.
Department of Corrections Director Bill Byars told a House panel on Tuesday that the state's overall prison population has gone down. But Byars says prisons that house South Carolina's most dangerous offenders are in desperate need of more guards.
Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has recommended spending an additional $10 million in 2013-14 on prison upgrades. Haley's request includes building two watch towers at Lee Correctional in Bishopville, where inmates took guards hostage twice last year.The money would also buy cameras and metal detectors, replace weapons bought as far back as the 1960s, buy vehicles and pave roads. Haley also recommends salary raises for officers in maximum-security prisons. ___ Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP