Inmates

In The Moment ... April 30, 2020 Show 807 Hour 2

As people across the state are self-isolating to prevent the spread of Sars-CoV-2, some facilities face unique challenges. Over the past few week's we've talked about colleges with cleared dormitories, nursing homes with locked down residents and staff, and today we begin a conversation about jails and prisons. Mike Milstead is the sheriff of Minnehaha County, the county with the most confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state of South Dakota. 

 

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Aspiring nurses are researching vulnerable populations and brainstorming strategies to improve lives. University of Sioux Falls students examine vulnerable populations. Some teams consider solutions for children who are hearing impaired. Others develop a plan to deter college students from abusing alcohol. Hear from a nursing instructor about comprehensive patient care and learn about the vision these 20-somethings have for making the world a better place.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Convicted killer Rodney Berget says he wants to stop an appeal that’s preventing him from being put to death, but his attorney can't support the move. The issues are enough to delay major action in Rodney Berget’s case for a few months.

Rodney Berget was in a Minnehaha County courtroom Friday. He wants to end his execution appeal.

Judge Douglas Hoffman asked if he understood that waiving his rights is a path to execution. Berget responded "yes".

That wasn’t enough for the judge to authorize a path to execution that day.

A Pierre pastor is raising money to build a halfway house for women prison inmates. 

Jack Benjamin is the pastor of Calvary United Pentecostal Church. He is also a volunteer chaplain at the state women’s prison in Pierre. Benjamin is raising funds to build a six bedroom residence he’s calling the ‘Center House.’ He’s hopeful the facility will give a few women a fresh start.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

Some inmates at the state prison are working to uphold a standard of integrity despite living decades behind bars. The South Dakota State Penitentiary houses people who have committed heinous crimes. It’s also a place where inmates of many faiths can choose to worship.

A Lutheran congregation called St. Dysmas has more than 100 churchgoers in the 700-person prison. They elect council members, and those inmate leaders talk about forming community when their own actions keep them from being part of regular society.

Kealey Bultena / SDPB

South Dakota drivers get new license plates starting in January, and inmates at the state penitentiary are making them. The current design is a decade old, and state officials want to update them because of aging and concerns about their reflectivity. Prisoners started producing license plates in 1929. Now current inmates are preparing to make 1.5 million plates for 2016.

A recent study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that within five years, about three-quarters of released prisoners were re-arrested. Inmates face a myriad of difficulties once they come out of prison, not the least of which is trying to find a job.