Jail diversion program serves community

Photo Credit: Holly Morgan

The jail diversion program in Horry County, called Life Recovery Solutions, is trying to break the cycle of homelessness, save tax dollars and turn lives around.

When Myron Vereen got out of jail the last time, he went back to doing what he knew best. "I was a part of tearing up my neighborhood for the longest time, selling drugs, doing drugs... basically hanging with the wrong crowd."

Myron's now in J. Reuben Long Detention Center's Jail Diversion program.

The director of the transitional service, Bruce Lunch, says addressing underlying problems such as addiction is key to keeping repeat offenders out of jail and saving tax payers money. "Even though South Carolina is the least in the nation for paying for an inmate in jail, it's still $35 a day. All of these guys would have been in the department of corrections, already saving them money."

Life Coach Reggie Warren says helping people like Myron break through a negative mindset is what will keep him from committing another crime. "Working with people who are just like you telling you that you're not what people say you are. You read the material and you find out that you are a good person."

The diversion program not only keeps the participants from going to jail, it gives them the opportunity to dig into projects that benefit the community and helps them rebuild their lives. Monday, that meant helping to build the Palmetto Adventure Land playground in Carolina Forest. "I'm out here landscaping, just doing everything I can do to contribute. I'm more of a people person, but I can get with the labor thing. It's cool," said Vereen.

Even though Myron may not want be where he is right now, he's on the right track.

Myron and the three others working at the playground are graduating to phase two of the program, where they'll move to the Street Reach Mission shelter in Myrtle Beach where they'll have a safe place to live and get help finding jobs.