Palmetto Unified School District (PUSD) is a state-wide school district established by South Carolina General Assembly legislative mandate in 1981, (SC Statue 24-25-10), with the mission of providing academic, vocational, and life skills programs to incarcerated participants between the ages of 17-21. South Carolina Department of Corrections house twelve (12) high schools located throughout the state of South Carolina serving both traditional high school students and adult students and nine (9) Adult Education programs serving any inmate without a high school diploma. PUSD was strategically placed within the SCDC to ensure that participants earn educational credit towards a high school diploma or its equivalent. These offerings provide opportunities for student inmates to receive a wide-range of vocational certificates leading to gainful employment and societal productivity. Education within PUSD helps reduce recidivism in South Carolina, rehabilitates offenders, and provides them with the skills they need to unlock their potential and become assets to their communities upon release.
Education continues to be one of the most important factors affecting successful reentry and reducing recidivism. The RAND Corporation has issued multiple studies on the value of corrections education, finding that inmates who participated in correctional education programs were 28% less likely to recidivate. By decreasing recidivism rates, corrections education saves four to five dollars for each dollar spent.