State Fact Sheet

Public Safety in South Dakota

South Dakota

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Public Safety Performance Project  > State Work > South Dakota

On February 6, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed into law comprehensive criminal justice legislation aimed at improving public safety and cutting costs to taxpayers. An overwhelming majority of legislators in both chambers of the South Dakota Legislature voted to support the Public Safety Improvement Act to contain corrections spending by focusing prison space on violent and career criminals and strengthening less costly, more effective alternatives to prison for nonviolent offenders.

Governor Daugaard signs the Public Safety Improvement Act on February 6, 2013.

Without reforms, projections indicated that South Dakota’s prison population would grow by 25 percent in the next 10 years, requiring the state to build two new correctional facilities at a cost to taxpayers of $224 million for construction and operating expenses.

To address this challenge, South Dakota state leaders created the bipartisan, interbranch Criminal Justice Initiative Work Group, which conducted an in-depth analysis of the state’s sentencing and corrections data and developed research-driven policy recommendations that formed the basis for the legislation.

The reform package is expected to avert the need to construct both prisons through evidence-based sentencing alternatives and other effective crime prevention strategies. The new law will:

  • Focus prison space on violent and career criminals by revising sentences for several nonviolent offenses to target more serious offenses with stronger punishments.
  • Authorize reinvestment of some of the savings generated by averting prison growth into recidivism reduction strategies that: require the use of proven practices and programs; improve substance abuse and mental health interventions; expand drug courts; and improve collection of restitution.
  • Ensure effective implementation and ongoing impact of the reforms by creating an oversight council and requiring performance measurement, training, fiscal impact statements, and reinvestment mechanisms.

The legislation received the endorsement of the state associations of police chiefs, state’s attorneys, sheriffs, and county commissioners. Attorney General Marty Jackley, the State Bar of South Dakota, the Network Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault, the Council of Substance Abuse Directors, and the Council of Mental Health Centers also supported the bill.

The Public Safety Improvement Act was passed by the Senate by a vote of 31-2. It passed the House by a vote of 63-7.

At the request of state leaders, Pew’s public safety performance project provided technical assistance to the Work Group and state leaders throughout the reform process. 

South Dakota Sentencing and Corrections Resources

 



Report | November 2012
South Dakota Criminal Justice Initiative Final Report  arrow

Fact Sheet | June 6, 2012
Time Served in South Dakota   arrow

Fact Sheet | March 2, 2009
1 in 31: The Long Reach of American Corrections  arrow

 


Georgia News

Media Coverage | February 6, 2013
Judicial Reform Positive For Prison Alternatives
An overhaul to the criminal justice system in South Dakota means potential growth for several facilities that help rehabilitate non-violent drug and alcohol offenders. arrow

Media Coverage | February 6, 2013
Daugaard: Reform Doesn't Mean We're Soft on Crime
With the stroke of his pen, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard signs into law a sweeping reform of the state's criminal justice system. arrow

Media Coverage | February 6, 2013
South Dakota Governor Signs Criminal Justice Reform Measure
Gov. Dennis Daugaard has signed into law a plan to cut the state's prison costs by treating more nonviolent offenders through intensive probation, parole and other programs outside prison walls. arrow

Media Coverage | February 6, 2013
Changes To Justice System Offer Offenders New Opportunities
Governor Dennis Daugaard will sign a bill aimed at reforming the state's criminal justice system Wednesday afternoon. arrow

Media Coverage | January 13, 2013
Editorial: Becoming 'smart on crime'
Last year, Gov. Dennis Daugaard proposed reforming education in his State of the State address to the South Dakota Legislature only to see his reforms—heavily modified by the Legislature— rejected by voters in November. arrow

Media Coverage | January 11, 2013
We Say
Thumbs Up to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to address South Dakota’s relatively high imprisonment rate and the costs that accompany it. arrow

Media Coverage | January 24, 2013
South Dakota Senate Approves Criminal Justice Reform Plan
The South Dakota Senate has approved a plan to cut the state's prison costs by treating more nonviolent offenders in community programs. arrow

Media Coverage | January 22, 2013
Our View: Justice Reform Worthy of a Try
The governor has said that it’s not about being hard or soft on crime; rather, it’s about being “smart on crime.” arrow

Media Coverage | January 16, 2013
In Our Opinion: Prison Reform Plan Worth Considering
More than half of the South Dakota Legislature's 105 members signed on to sponsor Gov.Dennis Daugaard's new approach to criminal justice in the state. arrow

Media Coverage   | January 10, 2013
State of the State: A call to be ‘smart on crime’ in S.D. 
South Dakota has needed to take a hard look at its corrections system for decades. arrow  

Media Coverage | July 18, 2012
Rising Cost of Incarceration Alarms South Dakota Officials
A South Dakota committee will examine rising prison costs and the state’s exceptionally high lockup rate in an effort to reform the criminal justice system and save money. arrow

Media Coverage | July 18, 2012
Daugaard & SD Leaders Work To Improve Prisons
Space is tight in South Dakota's state prisons, but there is room for improvement to our criminal justice system. arrow

Media Coverage | July 18, 2012
Daugaard: Lower Inmate Population, Save Taxpayer Money
 There are 3,600 prison inmates in South Dakota and state leaders say that number will increase 25% in the next decade. arrow

Media Coverage | July 18, 2012
Reducing Corrections in SD
State prisons in South Dakota have filled up at a rapid pace and building more prisons in the state can be costly. arrow

Media Coverage | April 9, 2012
Daugaard Says State Studying Prison Population
Gov. Dennis Daugaard says state officials are studying why South Dakota locks up offenders at a much higher rate than neighboring states do. arrow

Media Coverage | July 18, 2012
Daugaard: "Doing Nothing is Not a Good Option" for South Dakota Prison Reform
New numbers show that there are more inmates in South Dakota's prisons than in prisons in any of the surrounding states. arrow

Media Coverage | July 18, 2012
State Leaders Look for Reforms in Criminal Justice System
State leaders from all three branches of government announced the creation of a workgroup to study possible ways to reform the criminal justice system as the prison population in South Dakota continues to increase. arrow

Media Coverage | July 18, 2012
Governor Daugaard Talks About Costs of Prison Systems
More than 3,600 people are sitting in South Dakota state prisons. A number the governor says is excessive and expensive to maintain. arrow

Media Coverage | July 18, 2012
State Leaders Announce Corrections Study
State leaders from all three branches of government announced the creation of a work group to study possible ways to reform the criminal justice system as the prison population in South Dakota continues to increase. arrow  

Media Coverage | July 18, 2012
State Officials Announce Work Group to Study Ways to Reform South Dakota's Corrections System
 State leaders from all three branches of government announced Tuesday the creation of a work group to study possible ways to reform the criminal justice system in an effort to control its rising costs in South Dakotaarrow  

Media Coverage | July 19, 2012
Corrections Department Reform Sought
 State leaders from all three branches of government announced Tuesday the creation of a work group to study possible ways to reform the criminal justice system in an effort to control its rising costs in South Dakota. arrow

Date:
February 6, 2013
Contact:
Jennifer Laudano | 202.540.6321
Project:
Public Safety Performance Project
Issues:
Public Safety
State:
South Dakota
 
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