Community leaders lauded legislation Thursday that ensures people released on probation or parole can be searched without a warrant.
The Reduction of Recidivism Act went into effect June 1, strengthening the authority of law enforcement in the state.
In addition to warrantless searches, the law:
--Requires judges to look at pending charges when bail is requested.
--Creates an attempted murder statute.
--Clarifies the different levels of assault.
--Prevents those convicted of drug trafficking from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, Charleston Police Chief Greg Mullen, 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson and Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon discussed the benefits of the two bills at a news conference Thursday at the Police Department.
"Bail creates problems for the community in terms of safety in that we have individuals who are out on bail on repeated bonds for multiple crimes," Mullen said.
Wilson said the new law will cut down on crime and did not cost the state anything.
Cannon said strengthening criminal laws acts as a "force multiplier," which allows law enforcement to better supervise convicts on probation or parole because of staff cuts.
Criminals are not going to get back on the streets as easily as before, Riley said. For people convicted of drug trafficking, "posting a bond is no different than me tying my tie" because of the money they make from selling drugs, he said.
Riley also said he is sure there is enough room in the prison system for more offenders.
"It's not just about making an arrest, we have to see it through prosecution," Wilson said.
The new law permits law enforcement to search paroled criminals without a warrant only if they sign a consent form before they are released to community supervision.
It does not affect people already on probation.