In many of the small, stark cells where the women of Leath Correctional Institution sleep, three neatly kept bunks squeeze into space barely large enough for two.
The maximum security penitentiary built on the outskirts of Greenwood to accommodate 656 of the state’s toughest female offenders houses at leeast 700 every day.
Warden Catherine Kendall knows it’ll likely get worse before it gets better.
“If I knew the solution, I’d be a rich woman,” said the Calhoun Falls native who at 49 has spent her career with the state Department of Corrections.
South Carolina imprisons more than 1,640 women at Leath and at Griffin Correctoinal Institution in Columbia, almost three times as many as 20 years ago. it is a local reflection of what is becoming a national crisis.
Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice say the number of women in both state and federal prisons is at an all-time high and growing fast, with an incarceration.