In 1981, the South Carolina General Assembly established the Palmetto Unified School District #1, pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 24-25-10, to provide educational services to inmates through a statewide school district. The legislation declared:

“The purpose of the district is to enhance the quality and scope of education for inmates within the Department of Corrections so that they will be better motivated and better equipped to restore themselves in the community. The establishment of this district shall ensure that education programs are available to all inmates with less than a high school diploma, or its equivalent, and that various vocational training programs are made available to selected inmates with the necessary aptitude and desire. “

In June 2018, in the 2018-2019 Appropriations Act, The General Assembly expanded the reach of education for inmates: 

“A criminal offender committed to the custody of the Department of Corrections, who has been evaluated to function at less than an eighth-grade educational level, or less than the equivalent of an eighth-grade educational level, may be required by department officials to enroll and actively participate in academic education programs. Funds appropriated to the Department of Corrections for educational programs shall be prioritized to assure such remedial services are provided.” SECTION 65 – N040 – DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS 65.5. (CORR: Remedial Education Funding)