Every year, there are nearly 12 million jail admissions in the United States. The MacArthur Foundation recently held the Safety and Justice Challenge to help reduce local jail populations.
Pennington County is among twenty finalists to win the competition. The local criminal justice system will receive a $150,000 grant. They will also receive help from experts to come up with a plan to reduce the number of incarcerations.
Pennington County Sheriff Kevin Thom says the plan will mainly focus on diverting crime. He says he hopes the assistance finds opportunities for local and state-wide improvements.
“The initial benefit is for Pennington County, but I think there’s a larger benefit for South Dakota as a whole, where hopefully some of the ideas and concepts that we develop here can be utilized in other counties as well,” says Thom.
Thom says that making it into the next round of the competition helps the county further its plans in the community. Ten of the finalists are chosen to receive up to $2 million per year. The winners are chosen in 2016.