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Substance Abuse Group Hears From Former North Dakota US Attorney About Approach To Reduce Recidivism

Tim Purdon Twitter

A former U.S. Attorney for North Dakota says during his five years at the job, he saw countless cases of recidivism from reservations back to jail and prison. 

Tim Purdon addressed the South Dakota Substance Abuse Prevention study group.  The group is a summer committee made up of state lawmakers.  Purdon says to stop recidivism, law enforcement efforts must also include crime prevention.  He says more support is needed for those re-entering reservations from custody.

Purdon adds that prevention is cost effective.

“You’re not going to be able to arrest your way out of these problems,” Purdon says. “First of all, that’s a very expensive proposition. Representative (Don) Haggar mentioned the cost of the new jail in Minnehaha County. I can tell you that in North Dakota the Department of Corrections budget has doubled in six or seven years. These arrest-your-way-out-of-it, vigorous enforcement of crime, anti-crime arresting and jailing people… it’s very important but by itself it’s not fiscally sustainable.”

Meth and opioid use is on the rise across the country and in South Dakota. Governor Dennis Daugaard backed the formation of the Substance Abuse and Prevention committee.  The group is examining the issues for possible legislation for the coming session.