Operation Get Smart

About the Program  |   Screening Process  |   2017-2018 Totals
The Operation Get Smart Program
Operation Get Smart (OGS) is a crime prevention/public awareness program sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Corrections. It was implemented in 1976 and for more than 42 years OGS has been a model program used by other states interested in implementing effective crime prevention programs. The program is aimed primarily at youth in an effort to deter them from making poor decisions resulting in criminal behavior and prison sentences.

Unfortunately statistics prove that many young people are subjected to and get involved with alcohol and drugs at a very early age, in many cases elementary school. Of the approximately 20,000 adult inmates incarcerated in the S. C. Department of Corrections, most were involved with alcohol and drugs at the time their crime was committed and 75% did not complete high school. Most people who have seen the OGS program feel that hearing firsthand accounts of the consequences of making poor choices has a positive impact on young people. The program encourages them to respect their parents, teachers, peers and the law. Letters and phone calls are received daily from educators, students, parents, law enforcement officials, ministers, and community leaders who have observed and support Operation Get Smart and feel that the program does help reduce crime and the rate of incarceration.

Operation Get Smart consists of a carefully screened team of inmates that travel the state speaking to youth and adults about actions which led to their involvement in crime and the consequences of criminal behavior. While conducting Operation Get Smart programs, inmates are in uniform and are supervised by a supervisory level uniformed correctional officer. The inmates reinforce the same positive values and life skills that parents and educators encourage, i.e., making good decisions based on right and wrong, the consequences of making poor choices, being responsible for their own actions, the consequences of carrying weapons, staying away from alcohol and drugs, choosing friends carefully, the difference between positive and negative peer pressure, getting a good education, talking to parents and other responsible adults if they have problems, setting positive goals and striving to reach them, etc.
The Screening Process for an Operation Get Smart Inmate
The screening process for OGS inmate team members is extensive to ensure that they are trustworthy, sincere, and committed to the program's mission. Interested inmates must first complete an OGS application which includes their reasons for desiring to participate in the program, the message they feel they can convey, and other pertinent information about themselves. Their records are thoroughly screened to ensure that they meet the minimum security requirements, have good institutional adjustment, have no criminal sexual conduct, escape, or kidnapping convictions, or any other condition that would rule them unacceptable. Inmates successfully completing the initial screening are individually interviewed by a Public Awareness Program Branch staff member. They are psychologically tested, law enforcement officials in the committing county are consulted, and registered victims are notified. Inmates can be determined unacceptable during any stage of the screening process. The inmate must then be recommended by State Classification and approved by their respective warden, the Division Director for Operations and the Division Director for Programs, Reentry and Rehabilitative Services. The Manager for Public Awareness Programs makes the final selection of inmate participants based on the program's needs at that time. Inmates selected for OGS program assignments complete an orientation and training process and their performance and adjustment is constantly evaluated as long as they are assigned to the program. Additionally, OGS inmates are randomly drug tested to ensure they they are drug free.
Grand Totals From July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018
Total Number of Engagements:  699
Total Youths Attending:  51,853
Total Adults Attending:  9360
Total Audience:  61,213
Total Programs:  764
Total Presentations:  2851
Total Miles Driven:  42,753

For more information about the S. C. Department of Corrections crime prevention efforts, or to schedule an Operation Get Smart Program, contact:

Captain Angela E. Williams
Public Awareness Programs Manager
Division of Programs, Reentry and Rehabilitative Services
(803) 896-1846
E-mail:  Williams.Angela@doc.state.sc.us