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State buys land for prison to replace Sioux Falls penitentiary

The South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls
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The South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. The Dept. of Corrections recently purchased land south of the city to build a new prison to replace the aging facility.

The South Dakota Department of Corrections has selected a site for a new state penitentiary.

State officials said Friday the department has bought two 160-acre parcels of land in rural Lincoln County. The land is about five miles south of Harrisburg and eight miles south of Sioux Falls.

The new facility will replace much of the current state penitentiary in Sioux Falls, according to the DOC. Officials have long said the existing facility is aging and faces overcrowding issues.

Last legislative session, lawmakers approved $52 million dollars to buy land for a new prison and another $270 million dollars to build the facility.

Officials said the new site saves money because it’s already owned by the state's Office of School and Public Lands. It can be transferred to the DOC for its  appraised value of $7.9 million.

“This site is the best choice for a modern correctional facility that supports our state’s public safety needs, minimizes the impact on community growth, and keeps us close to available workforce,” said Kellie Wasko, Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Corrections. “We appreciate Gov. Noem’s leadership, the Legislature’s financial support, and Commissioner (Brock) Greenfield’s work to secure this land for the state’s public safety needs for generations to come.”

Josh Chilson is the news director at South Dakota Public Broadcasting. A Florence, S.D. native, Josh graduated with a journalism degree from South Dakota State University. He has worked as a newspaper reporter and videographer, and most recently as managing editor for Dakota News Now. Josh is based out of SDPB's Sioux Falls studio.