A Sumter native who spent the second part of her professional career helping state prisoners learn from their mistakes and improve their lives behind bars passed away last week.
Sandra Shivers Goodman was "instrumental" in creating and leading …
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Sandra Shivers Goodman was "instrumental" in creating and leading the Better Living Incentive Community at Lee Correctional Institution in Bishopville. BLIC residents, as they don't call themselves inmates, have to apply, are accepted and can stay in the program, which has separate living and communal quarters than the rest of the maximum-security prison for violent offenders, based on good behavior.
"She ran that program at Lee," South Carolina Department of Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said Wednesday.
Goodman, who was born on Dec. 22, 1964, to Raymond and Eva Shivers, died on Wednesday, July 11, at Palmetto Health Tuomey. Her obituary that ran in Sunday's paper said, "she will be truly missed by all those she worked with faithfully until the time of her sickness." Stirling did not address how she died, but he ended a tweet mourning her loss with a #curecancer hashtag.
Goodman graduated from Sumter High School in 1983 and worked for Bosch for a decade before beginning her career at Lee Correctional.
Stirling said he has been to "a lot of funerals" through his time at the Department of Corrections but that Goodman's funeral, which was on Monday, was striking.
"It was comforting to see the number of men and women in uniform that showed up to be there for each other and her family," he said. "She always greeted me with a hug and a smile. She never seemed to have a bad day.
"She really cared about the men there that were trying to do better. She knew they made mistakes in their past, but she really cared for them and tried to help them do better."
Stirling described Goodman as a strong, professional caring person who was "very well-respected" by both her co-workers and the inmates she was around daily - she was a "ray of sunshine."
"She knew everything that was going on in that unit and could answer specific questions," he said. "She was the definition of a corrections professional."
He said when he visited the prison and the BLIC unit, where the residents take part in programs such as beekeeping and musical theater with Carnegie Hall musicians, the men who were incarcerated and living in that unit respected her.
"They knew she was there to do her job but to also make sure they did better for themselves," he said. "It's a strength to make sure that things are done properly but a compassion to make sure that people are getting what they need."
Goodman was a member of Salem Missionary Baptist Church, and she also spent time with her husband at Asbury United Methodist Church, according to her obituary.
She leaves behind her parents, husband, a daughter, two sons, a brother, a special niece, her mother-in-law and other nieces, nephews, in-laws, relatives and friends.
"She's gonna really be missed by the folks at Lee, both those that work there and those that are incarcerated," Stirling said. "And I'm gonna miss her."
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