Criminal Justice Initiative

Tribal Leaders Discuss Parolee Pilot Program

Feb 26, 2014

South Dakota tribal leaders are in Pierre Wednesday discussing issues affecting Indian Country. Tribal Relations Day starts with a listening session focused on public safety. Part of the discussion is how Senate Bill 70 passed last year is affecting the tribes.

The criminal justice reform includes a pilot program to help decrease recidivism of Native Americans on reservations. Shaun Eastman with the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate is helping implement the program. She says when Native Americans return home from prison, there will be task forces of volunteers to keep them on track.

Court System Expands Programs

Jan 16, 2014

During his State of the Judiciary message before a joint session of the House and Senate Wednesday, South Dakota Supreme Court Justice David Gilbertson said the court system is expanding existing programs and starting new ones to treat more non-violent offenders outside of prison.  Those programs include courts for drug and alcohol offenders and pilot courts for some military veterans charged with misdemeanors.  The changes are part of a Criminal Justice Reform measure passed by lawmakers last year and signed by Governor Dennis Daugaard.

Flying Kites Through Keyholes

Aug 29, 2013

The criminal justice system in South Dakota is taking on major reforms.   

On today’s Dakota Digest we hear from a young South Dakota author who just completed a book on her time spent working in San Quentin prison and other facilities in the California justice system.   The book also includes personal stories and letters detailing her own brother’s dealings with the South Dakota justice system.

SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray speaks with Danica Von Hartwig about her new book “Flying Kites Through Keyholes”

Criminal Justice Reform Gets Budget Boost

Mar 11, 2013

Early in this legislative session, Governor Dennis Daugaard signed into law Senate Bill 70, a comprehensive criminal justice overhaul designed to keep nonviolent offenders and addicts out of prison. That bill directed about $3.4 million of general funds to the program that offers supervision and counseling to offenders in the community.  Last Friday the legislature dedicated an additional $650,000 and 13 full-time employee positions to the initiative.

Criminal Justice Reform Heads To House

Jan 24, 2013

By Victoria Wicks
The Public Safety Improvement Act has passed through the full Senate and now is headed for the House. This is the package of legislation putting into effect the Criminal Justice Initiative designed to alleviate prison populations, saving the state millions of dollars while reducing the crime rate.
Governor Dennis Daugaard and Chief Justice David Gilbertson announced the initiative last summer and appointed a work group to study how to put the initiative into practice.

Opposition Doesn't Deter Criminal Justice Initiative

Jan 18, 2013

By Victoria Wicks

Even the opponents testifying against the Public Safety Improvement Act  on Friday largely favor the legislation. Senate Bill 70 contains the legal mechanisms to put into action the Criminal Justice Initiative, the sweeping reform of South Dakota’s treatment of nonviolent criminals and addicts. The major point of contention is the elimination of preliminary hearings for offenders accused of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

By Victoria Wicks
The Joint Appropriations Committee of the South Dakota state legislature heard testimony Tuesday about the costs of funding the Criminal Justice Initiative. The system-wide overhaul proposed by Governor Dennis Daugaard and Chief Justice David Gilbertson affects several departments and will require upfront costs that officials hope will lead to later savings. Proponents of the initiative tout the program as a win-win proposition: the state ultimately saves money, and people who have veered into criminal behavior have a chance to find a better way to live.