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Hotels Considered For Some South Dakota Parolees

South Dakota parolees who need housing assistance following their sentence are usually placed in minimum-security correctional facilities. But now a group of community members and state officials are working to place these low-risk offenders in Sioux Falls hotels instead.

Ed Ligtenberg is South Dakota’s Director of Parole. He says the criminal justice initiative set aside $250,000 for a pilot program that would look into alternative housing placement for parolees who need assistance.

"So when we say low-risk crime is part of what determines that someone is low risk but it’s a risk and needs assessment," says Ligtenberg. "So the individuals that would be involved in this alternative program would be offenders who have their programming completed- score on the low range on our LSIR which is our risk assessment that we use for cut-off scores- and have basically just a housing need rather than an increased need for programming or surveillance."

Ligtenberg says there are six members representing the Depart of Corrections and the parole department as well as seven members of the local community designing the program. He says the pilot is still in the beginning stages of planning.

Ligtenberg says this program would allow parolees to live in an environment that is more social than that of a prison. He says the goal is to have the plan close to finalization by the first of the year.