DJJ cutting school jobs, requiring furloughs

The South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice is cutting 14 school employees, closing a residential program for minor offenders, and requiring most employees to take seven days off without pay.

Director Bill Byars said Wednesday the additional cuts are needed as the agency weathers a nearly 30 percent cut in state funding in two years. But Byars is still fairly upbeat about the fiscal year that started July 1, saying the cuts could have been much deeper.

The agency had already laid off hundreds of employees, closed two dorms and a lockup behind the razor wire in Columbia and closed other programs for lesser offenses.

He credits the agency's survival to better community supervision and other changes over that past seven years that have reduced the number of repeat offenders.