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Legislative panel considers new prisons, facility upgrades

The Pierre Community Work Center, or women's minimum security unit, at the women's prison in Pierre.
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The Pierre Community Work Center, or women's minimum security unit, at the women's prison in Pierre.

A legislative group is looking closely at whether to build a new male prison in Sioux Falls and female prison in Rapid City.

The group is studying the infrastructure of the Corrections Department statewide and the services provided at those facilities.

Republican Sen. Mike Diedrich is chair of the committee. He says the group will look closest at facilities.

“This group’s report to the Legislature will be, ‘These are what we see as funding priorities in the Department of Corrections, and we believe it should be funded over the next five, three, 10 years, whatever it may be,” Diedrich says.

A statewide corrections facility plan was released earlier this year. It recommends several facility upgrades and new construction projects, totaling more than $600 million.

The group will meet at least once more on Aug. 31. The members will issue a report with their recommendations, which will get submitted to the full Legislature before the 2023 session.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.